Emirates announced today that it will launch a sixth daily flight between Dubai and Bangkok in October.
The airline, which now probably offers more seats in and out of Bangkok than any other foreign airline, will add the service on October 27, the start of the winter timetable.
New flight EK370 will depart Dubai at 1520 and arrive in Bangkok at 0020 the following morning. It returns as EK371, leaving the Thai capital at 0155 and reaching Dubai the same morning at 0555.
Of the six daily flights, two are operated by B777-300ERs, two by A380 superjumbos, one by a B777-300, and the new service flown by a smaller B777-200ER.
Flight schedules are spread throughout the day and so afford good connections with the waves of flights that arrive from, and depart for, Europe.
Thailand is a main destination for the Gulf carriers. Besides the Thai capital itself, the Gulf airlines are now moving into the leisure destination of Phuket and are competing ever more fiercely with their European and Asian rivals.
Etihad alone claims that Bangkok is now its single busiest route. Last year, it flew almost 700,000 passengers between Abu Dhabi and the Thai capital, a 38 per cent increase over 2011.
Why are the Gulf carriers so successful? It’s partly down to offering keen fares and flights with modern aircraft but it’s also due to the fact that they serve so many countries and cities throughout the UK, mainland Europe (including Central and Eastern Europe) and Scandinavia.
For example, Thai Airways and British Airways offer departures from one UK airport – London Heathrow.
But collectively the Gulf carriers offer departures not just from Heathrow but also from Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.
In Germany, there are flights with Lufthansa and Thai from Frankfurt and Munich. But besides these two hubs, the Gulf carriers also depart from Berlin, Hamburg and Dusseldorf.
It means not only are regional travellers spared the expense of travelling to a main hub they can probably reach Thailand just as, if not more, quickly via the Gulf.
Emirates yesterday announced it will launch a daily Airbus A380 service between Dubai and Mauritius from December (see online news, July 9).