News

THAI Airways cuts underperforming flights (updated)

9 Dec 2008

Flight operations at Bangkok’s main airport has finally returned to normal, which is 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 the carrier 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 connection between Bangkok and Johannesburg is significant because there are precious few air links between South Africa and Southeast Asia. Alternatives for passengers would be to take Singapore Airlines (a Star Alliance member like THAI) via Singapore or you could book Cathay Pacific (a Oneworld member) and SAA (a Star Alliance member) via Hongkong.

But THAI was the only Star Alliance carrier on the route with a First Class cabin. This made it 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 www.thaiairways.com.

Alex McWhirter

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