Friday, 11 December 2020

Thai Airways shelves Brisbane & Perth flights; plans Melbourne return

THAI B787-8 HS-TQA (CN 35315)

Thailand’s flag carrier has pulled all Queensland and WA flights from its schedules, and made all Brisbane-based staff redundant. Star Alliance member Thai Airways is shrinking its Australian route network – at least, for now – with all flights to Brisbane and Perth withdrawn from sale over the coming year. The airline’s Brisbane office will also close on December 18 2020, with all staff there made redundant. Flights to Brisbane and Perth, as well as Melbourne, “are suspended until the 27th March 2021,” a Thai Airways spokesperson advised Executive Traveller.

“Scheduled beyond that have not yet been confirmed.”

However, flights between Melbourne and Bangkok have already returned to sale for travel from the 28th March 2021, with Thai Airways scheduling a daily Airbus A350 service:

The same cannot be said for Brisbane and Perth, for which no Thai Airways flights are loaded for sale through to late 2021, being as far forward as the airline sells tickets on its network.

Sydney-Bangkok flights set to continue

When it comes to Sydney, Thai Airways expects to operate a weekly flight to Bangkok between January and March 2021.

Daily Sydney-Bangkok services are then scheduled from March 28.Even so, the airline’s website warns against making flight bookings right now, noting that prompt refunds should not be expected if flights are cancelled.

A Thai Airways spokesperson advised Executive Traveller that “we expect there will be some finalisation of the 2021 schedules once the court process in Thailand is finalised in Q1 2021, and (when) international borders are reopened.”

Earlier this year, the airline had resorted to court protections under Thailand’s Bankruptcy Act to help secure its future – a move that was followed last month by all of Thai's Boeing 747s being put up for sale.

Australia’s international travel restrictions have also now been extended a third time, continuing until at least March 17 2021.

Thai Airways' Australian network

THAI B747-4D7 HS-TGP (CN 26610)

Prior to COVID-19, Thai Airways offered regular flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Its Sydney route was home to those Boeing 747s, which came with not only the feted upper deck for business class passengers, but also the airline’s refreshed first class suites down in the jumbo’s nose.

Without the Boeing 747 in its fleet, Thai’s Sydney flights are currently scheduled with Airbus A350s and Boeing 777-300s going forward, both of which top out at business class.

Until March 2020, Sydney-Bangkok was also served daily by Qantas.

Melbourne-Bangkok had an alternative in Jetstar, and Brisbane had Thai AirAsia, albeit with flights into Bangkok's secondary Don Mueang airport, rather than the city's Suvarnabhumi hub.

Perth-Bangkok was a monopoly for Thai Airways, and was also Perth's eighth-busiest international route in 2018.

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