Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thai Airways plans US relaunch in 4Q 2018

Thai Airways hopes to be able to relaunch flights to the US in the fourth quarter of 2018, if FAA restores Thailand’s aviation safety rating as expected.

The carrier has not been allowed to start new service to the US since December 2015, when Thailand’s safety rating was downgraded by the agency. However, FAA is expected to conduct another audit of Thailand’s aviation regulator in either late October or early in November, Thai Airways VP-alliances and commercial strategy Krittaphon Chantalitanon said. This would mean FAA could make a decision on whether to upgrade the safety rating by early next year, Chantalitanon said on the sidelines of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) annual assembly in Taipei Oct. 24

Resuming US service has been on Thai’s wish list for several months. The carrier has previously operated flights to the US, but it ended the last of these—a flight to Los Angeles—in October 2015. It has also served New York in the past.

Chantalitanon said the airline was considering various US destinations. Cities on the east and west coasts, and even the Midwest, are possibilities. However, a west coast city is most likely for the initial flight, he said. The aircraft type is also yet to be decided, with Thai’s options including Airbus A350s, Boeing 787s and 777-300ERs.

Thai Airways will also look to boost its services to North Asia, as ICAO recently removed Thailand from its “red flag” category, Chantalitanon said. The red flag was issued in 2015 because of concerns about the country’s aviation safety oversight. This caused some North Asian countries, includingJapan and South Korea, to place restrictions on Thai carriers. ICAO removed the red flag after conducting a follow-up audit in September.

Adrian Schofield - Aviation Daily / ATWOnline News)

No comments: