Thai Airways Reduces Sharply Its Presence in Australia

Thai Airways International, airlines, Thailand, Australia

Bangkok will turn into a less attractive hub between Europe and Australia as national carrier Thai Airways International is reducing sharply its capacity from Bangkok to the country. The airline will offer 30% less seats from this winter season.

Thai Airways International will cut 10 weekly frequencies out of 39 by the end of the month when the new winter schedule is starting. The carrier will then offer less than a million seats on an annual basis, after having constantly offered 1.2 to 1.4 million seats from and to Australia.

The Thai national airline flies currently 14 times a week to Melbourne, 11 times to Sydney, 7 times to Brisbane as well as to Perth. Conme the winter schedule at the end of October, Thai will only fly 11 times a week to Melbourne, Sydney by a daily flight while Brisbane will be down from 7 to 4 frequencies. Only Perth will maintain its daily service and will see even the addition of more capacity as the airline will switch from Boeing 787 to Airbus A330. Melbourne will continue to be served by the brand new Airbus A350 while Sydney is suffering from an ageing product with a Boeing 747-400 flying daily from Bangkok.

Thai Airways currently operates ageing 747s to Sydney whereas A350s are used to Melbourne and 787s to Perth. Thai Airways introduced A350-900s to Melbourne in Oct-2017 and 787-8s were introduced to Perth in Sep-2014, then to Brisbane in Oct-2015, resulting in significant product improvements for the Australian market.

According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Brisbane capacity will decline by 43%, Sydney capacity by 36%, and Melbourne capacity by 21%. Thai’s total Australia capacity will drop by nearly 30%, to approximately 9,300 weekly one-way seats. This is the lowest capacity put by Thai into Australia in the last 12 years.

Thai Airways International is the largest carrier on the Australia-Thailand segment with a total seat capacity of 58% over the summer. However, this share is expected to dive to 50% this winter. Principal competitors to Thai Airways International are Emirates, JetStar and Qantas.

The airline wants to reduce the share of passengers in transfer due to lower yields than the ones generated by point-to-point markets.