Thai to shelve A380 plans for London?

1 Jul 2013 by Alex McWhirter

It looks as though Thai Airways will not operate its A380 on the London route after all.

As we reported only last month (see online news, June 3), Thai was going to deploy the superjumbo on one of its two daily services linking London Heathrow with Bangkok from December 1.

But according to a timetable update issued this morning by, there has been a change of plan.

Latest displays in airline booking systems (including show the rostered A380 for flights TG910 (departing Bangkok at 0015) and TG911 (departing London Heathrow at 1150) replaced by a B747-400, the same aircraft which currently plies the route.

If correct, this news will not go down well with travellers. Why? Because the brand new A380 provides passengers with greater comfort and facilities than do the 20-year old B747-400s, even though the latter have been refurbished (see online News, March 19).

Thai has not provided an official explanation for the aircraft swap. So it is unclear whether the change is down to technical or commercial reasons.

But Thai is believed to be having a tough time on the London to Bangkok route owing to competition from the Gulf carriers as well as British Airways - which has increased seat capacity now that its Bangkok service terminates in the Thai capital instead of continuing to Sydney - so adding extra capacity might be seen as unwise.

During last May and June, Thai cancelled flights TG917 and TG916 no fewer than 12 times therefore halving seat capacity on the days in question. And Thai recently marketed a "two-for-one" business class offer in an effort to boost premium travel.

All in all, the move is not good news seeing as December is the peak month for travel between Europe, SE Asia and Australasia.

Business Traveller will keep you updated on developments.

Alex McWhirter

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