THAI to end US flights in latest round of cost-cutting

TD Guest Writer

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The will cease flying to the US on 25 October 2015 (photo by Philip Pilosian)
The will cease flying to the US on 25 October 2015 (photo by Philip Pilosian)

Thai Airways International (THAI) will suspend its last remaining US route as part of its latest round of cuts.

The national carrier will cease operating its BangkokSeoulLos Angeles route on 25 October 2015, while its Rome services will also be suspended.

THAI will also reduce the number of flights it operates to Kolkata, while its Hyderabad, Changsha and Luang Prabang routes will be transferred to its low-cost unit, THAI Smile. The airline will increase the frequency of two key European routes however, with flights from Bangkok to London and Frankfurt rising to twice a day.

The latest round of cost-cutting will also include the loss of more than 1,400 jobs, with THAI saying it would offer voluntary redundancies.

The LA suspension will leave THAI without a direct presence in the US, following the cessation of its New York flights in 2008.

THAI said the routes could be relaunched in future, depending on market conditions.

“The suspended routes are on temporary basis, which the company will review again after a period,” the airline said in a statement. “Once THAI has strengthened and is confident in the competitiveness of the destination, THAI will resume these flights, similar to the resumption of the double daily operations between Bangkok-London route and the Bangkok-Frankfurt route.”

Earlier this year THAI announced a major turnaround plan, including capacity cuts and approximately 5,000 job losses.

The airline suffered a difficult 2014, as unrest in Bangkok and the subsequent military coup and martial law damped demand for travel. The carrier a full-year loss of THB15.6 billion (US$445 million) in 2014, but rebounded in the first quarter of this year with a THB4.5 billion net profit.
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