Thai Airways cancels Bangkok-New York non-stop services, sells all four A340-500s
Surging oil prices force airlines to cut back, but Lufthansa expands
By TBM Staff | Mumbai
According to a Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) news report, Thai Airways will cancel its non-stop services from Bangkok to New York and sell all four A340-500s, in response to surging oil prices. It is one of the most dramatic responses to high fuel prices by an Asia Pacific airline till date. Thai will also reduce Los Angeles non-stop frequencies and re-route the service via Japan with B777 aircraft from the winter schedule, as it takes the axe to its troubled ultra long-haul operation. Thai estimates that continuing the New York and Los Angeles routes would result in loss of USD120 million per annum. Further cutbacks by Thai are possible, as the airline reviews its wide body fleet requirements, including cutting its wide body fleet order.
China Airlines will cut ten per cent of its passenger capacity, mainly to the US and Asia, this month onwards, while EVA is trimming its passenger network by five per cent from September this year. Both carriers can however look forward to increasing cross-Taiwan Straits services, with a crucial meeting this week expected to pave the way for weekend charters from next month and eased restrictions on mainland visitor numbers to Taiwan.
Air New Zealand has announced some “tactical” changes to its network, mainly involving short-haul capacity cuts, as well as further fare increases. Jet Airways has also deferred the launch of services to Hong Kong until the winter schedule.
These moves follow announcements in recent weeks by Singapore Airlines, Qantas, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Korean Air to cut some international routes in the face of surging fuel prices. Virgin Blue is expected to announce cuts to its network this week.
However, other carriers including Lufthansa are poised to expand their services in the region. Having no plans of cutting services, Lufthansa will increase capacity between five per cent and ten per cent annually in the Asia Pacific region over the next five years, including a six to seven per cent increase this year. Tiger Airways meanwhile stated it is “waiting with bated breath to pounce on the routes suffering under higher fares, or simply abandoned by, Virgin Blue and Qantas’ Jetstar.” The airline also foreshadowed an expansion onto international routes cut by rivals. Tiger Airways stated that airlines that have lacked discipline to keep costs low are going to hurt the most during times of increasing fuel prices.
Source : TravelBizMonitor.com