Flight operations at Bangkok’s main airport have finally returned to
normal. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the current economic
climate has forced Thai Airways (the country’s flag-carrier) to withdraw its route
linking Bangkok with Johannesburg, South Africa
starting next month.
Thai’s spokesperson in London could not be reached for comment but
it’s understood Thai will terminate its three times a week service. The
carrier’s website will no longer accept bookings for trips after January 16.
It’s understood the Johannesburg
route is being cut partly because of the global financial climate and partly
because the South African currency (the Rand)
which was already weak, has lost more of its value in recent weeks. The weak Rand has affected Thai’s earnings
because the value of tickets sold in South Africa will be less.
The link between Bangkok
and Johannesburg is significant because there
are precious few air links between South Africa
and SE Asia. Alternatives for passengers would be to take SIA (a Star member like
Thai) via Singapore or you
could book Cathay Pacific (a Oneworld member) and SAA (a Star member) via Hong Kong.
But Thai was the only Star Alliance carrier on
the route with a first class cabin. This made Thai a popular choice for
passengers booking first class Star Alliance round-the-world tickets.
Airline staff are advising passengers of the
changes. But any passengers who booked online should check their inboxes as
there’s always the risk that their advisory emails will end up in the spam bin.
For more information go to thaiairways.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter