Thai Airways has earmarked either San Francisco or Seattle as destinations  it would like to serve non-stop once it takes delivery of its B787-9s next year, according to the Bangkok Post.

San Francisco in particular would provide more connection opportunities for passengers, as it is a major hub of fellow Star Alliance member United, while Seattle is the nearest major west-coast city Thai could serve.

However, the ability of Thai Airways to relaunch flights to the US depends on the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) upgrading Thailand’s aviation status to category one.

The FAA downgraded Thailand to category two status last year following a “red flag” from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), meaning all Thai-based carriers were banned from launching new routes to the US.

According to the Bangkok Post, the country has since worked hard to upgrade its air safety, with Thai Airways launching a “Safety Beyond Compliance” project to help Thailand’s aviation industry comply with international standards.

“If the Thai aviation regulator solves the problem and the red flag is lifted, the FAA would also allow Thai-registered carriers to fly in and out of the country [US] as usual,” said Thai Airways’ president Charamporn Jotikasthira.

With the Star Alliance member taking delivery of its first batch of fuel-efficient B787-9s next year, the airline has stated its intention to launch non-stop services.

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Clement Huang