Norwegian is the most active long-haul low-cost airline in Southeast Asia, especially to Thailand. However, the carrier announced that it will not resume flights from Copenhagen and Stockholm after the winter season. This will add to the woes that Thailand tourism is currently facing as European tourist arrivals are -at best- stagnating…
Once upon the time, low-cost long-haul carrier Eurowings was flying from Germany to Thailand. Flights were ended at the end of last year as the long-haul operation has been reintegrated into main carrier Lufthansa. This is now the turn of Norwegian Air Shuttle.
As the long-haul low-cost Scandinavian carrier just appointed Jacob Schram to the position of CEO (starting January 1st, 2020), one of his first responsibility will be to implement the decision of the board to end up a series of long-haul routes out of Copenhagen and Stockholm. US and Thailand routes will both be affected by the decision which will become effective from the summer schedule.
This winter, Norwegian flies six times weekly to both Bangkok and Krabi from Copenhagen; Stockholm to Krabi is flown four to six times a week while Stockholm-Bangkok benefits of five to six frequencies per week. Oslo is finally linked by six weekly flights to Bangkok and up to a daily frequency to Krabi.
Uncertainties still surround flights to Oslo. The Norwegian capital is linked to Bangkok and Krabi during the winter season- the peak season for Scandinavian travellers looking for sun and heat. Bangkok will not be reconducted in summer and the airline is mulling out whether Oslo- Bangkok and Oslo-Krabi will be available again in the next winter season 2020/21.
The airline explains this decision by technical problems affecting the engines on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners as well as weak demand. The strong Thai Baht certainly affected the airline’s decision as many Scandinavians are opting for cheaper destinations for their sun holidays. “Scandinavia isn’t big enough to maintain intercontinental flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen,” Senior Vice President Commercial Matthew Wood said in a statement.
Norwegian decision will certainly be greated by competition. Finnair, SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Thai Airways International are the main other airlines flying from Scandinavia to Thailand.
Thailand welcomed in 2018 over 751,000 travellers from Scandinavia, the largest incoming market being Sweden with 311,000 tourists . From January to October, total number of Scandinavians reached 519,300 arrivals, compared to 560,000 for the same period of 2018. This represents a decline of 9.3%.