Thai postpones A380 London debut service

Thai Airways has confirmed that it will postpone its A380 service on the Bangkok to London route.

The airline was scheduled to debut the aircraft on the London route from December 1, 2013 following the arrival of its fifth and sixth A380s. However, on July 2 the carrier said that it will not be operating the A380 on the London route until October 30, 2014 – a delay of almost one year. Thai regretted the change of plan, which it said was due to ‘important technical modifications’.

The carrier needs two aircraft to execute a daily service and had planned to use the A380 on one rotation and an A340-600 on its second daily service. It now says that it will continue to serve the route with two daily Boeing 747-400 flights through to the end of the summer 2014 schedule, when it will revert to the planned A380 and A340-600 operation. The B747-400 accommodates nine passengers in first, 40 in business and 325 in economy class. In comparison, the A340-600 seats eight in first, 40 in business and 325 in the economy class.

‘The introduction of the A380 will make flying between London and Bangkok an even more enjoyable and unforgettable experience and we can only apologise for the unforeseen delay,’ the carrier said.

Primarily a leisure spot, Gulf carriers have made major inroads in Thailand with their aggressive pricing and extensive networks. In 2012, one single Gulf-based carrier, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, carried almost 700,000 passengers in and out of Bangkok – a 38 percent increase in carryings over 2011, and making it one of the busiest routes.

However, when it launches its A380 in London Heathrow next year, Thai Airways will be able to offer passengers the latest facilities in T2, which is scheduled to open in June 2014.