THAI Cancels Non-Stop Service To United States
Sherman Oaks, California
-- Thai International Airways (THAI) cancelled its non-stop flights, TG790 and TG791, between Bangkok and JFK as of July 1, 2008. The “New York Express,” which which I blogged about last year, will not be replaced; THAI is no longer servicing the New York market.
-- THAI will continue to service Los Angeles but, as of sometime in October 2008, the airline will change from a non-stop flight equipped with an Airbus A340-500 (my favorite large commercial jet) to a "direct" flight which stops in Osaka, Japan, and is equipped with a Boeing 777-200ER. (I blogged about the LAX-BKK flight as well.)
-- The move away from "ultra-long-haul" flights is an industry trend powered by the high cost of jet fuel. "With these flights, what you get is a flying tanker with a few people onboard," Air France-KLM chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told The Wall Street Journal.
-- The change of equipment is understandable. An Airbus A340-500 has four engines (and uses four engines' worth of fuel), while the Boeing 777-200ER has two. That being said, the Boeing has the longest range of any large commercial jet currently in existence and could fly non-stop from L.A. to Bangkok. The reason the flight is stopping in Osaka is to load Japanese passengers and their yen.
-- So the bottom line is that, after October, there will no longer be any non-stop flights between Thailand and the United States.
-- Luckily, no decision by the Thai government (the airline's largest shareholder) is permanent. If influential Thais demand non-stops to LAX and JFK, the flights will return.
-- THAI's decision leaves only two pairs of non-stop flight between the U.S. and the Southeast Asian mainland, i.e., Singapore Airlines' flights to and from LAX (SQ37 and SQ38) and Newark (SQ21 and SQ22). These flights are currently configured as all Business Class flights. People who want to fly Singapore Air in the cheaper seats need to stop at Tokyo-Narita (from LAX on SQ11), Hong Kong (from SFO on SQ1), Seoul (from SFO on SQ15), Frankfurt (from JFK on SQ25) or Moscow (from Houston-Bush on SQ61).
-- Fact: Both Los Angeles and Bangkok are called “The City of Angels.”
--"The era of ultra long-haul flights has come to an end,” said THAI executive vice-president Pandit Chanapai. I certainly hope not.