Thai Airways expands into 5 Chinese cities

Thailand‘s flag carrier Thai Airways (THAI) is ramping up flights to China to facilitate increased demand from the Chinese tourist market since the country recently reopened its borders for the first time in three years.

Thai Airways will operate 14 nonstop services per week to five hot destinations, the earliest departing on March 1, 2023…

Bangkok – Kunming

Twice per week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, THAI will operate return flights from the Thai capital to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in southern China.

Bangkok – Guangzhou

THAI will fly to Guangzhou – the capital of Guangdong province – thrice weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Bangkok – Chengdu

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the airline will fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan.

Bangkok – Shanghai

As one of THAI’s main routes, the airline will operate four return flights per week from Bangkok to Shanghai, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Bangkok – Beijing

Another hot route, THAI will service flights to Beijing thrice per week – Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The frequency of this route in particular is significantly less than in pre-pandemic times when THAI was flying from Bangkok to Beijing twice per day.

THAI’s rehabilitation

In August 2022, THAI received US$2.2 billion (80 billion Thai baht) in financial aid from the Thai government to save the airline from bankruptcy.

The airline’s court-approved debt restructuring plan is expected to reach completion in 2024. However, the airline’s CEO Chai Eamsiri said last week that the airline is on track to exit the plan earlier than expected.

The flag carrier previously filed for bankruptcy in 2020 due to accumulated losses.

However, the recent uptick in global air travel has helped THAI to increase its cash flow and accelerate its recovery.

The Chinese market is particularly important, with Chinese customers creating a significant portion of THAI’s revenue pre-pandemic.

Despite cutting back its fleet to just four aircraft types, THAI hopes to acquire new aircraft to modernise its fleet.

Nearly 2,000 flights from China are expected to land in Thailand in the coming months, with Chinese airlines requesting new slots all the time.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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