THAI to relaunch direct flights to US

THAI to relaunch direct flights to US

Thai Airways International plans to introduce direct flights to the United States next year. (Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
Thai Airways International plans to introduce direct flights to the United States next year. (Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to re-introduce next year direct flights to the United States, five years after scrapping the non-stop Los Angeles service over big losses.

The move, however, hinges on the lifting of bans on Thai airlines by the United Nations and US safety regulators, THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira said on Monday.

Unlike in the past, Seattle or San Francisco will likely be the destination of the new service, he said.

The Thai flagship ended its non-stop flights from Bangkok to New York in 2008 and to Los Angeles four years later due to losses. It continued to serve Los Angeles via Seoul until late last year, when it severed all links to the US.

THAI will take delivery of two Boeing 787-900 aircraft next year and they will serve on the new US route, he said.

"The service will be the first non-stop flight from Bangkok without stopping over in Korea or Japan like before. It will be a key selling point for us because no other airlines operate a direct flight from the US to Bangkok," Mr Charamporn said.

The plan resulted from its finding that travellers' demand for the service was rising, he said.

However, the new service hinges on the decisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Federation Aviation Administration of the US to lift bans on the safety standard of Thai airlines, he said.

He referred to the red flag that the ICAO brought against the air safety certification of Thai aviation authorities in February last year and to FAA's subsequent measure.

In the short term, Mr Charamporn said THAI would operate a Tehran service and more flights to Moscow in October.

Iran, with a population of 70-80 million, is a new market and there should be traffic demand for leisure and business, he said.

For the Moscow service, THAI considered the market as increasingly promising and would increase its flight frequency to seven from four a week to be more competitive, Mr Charamporn said.

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