Thai Airways Fortunes Remain Downcast
Thailand's aviation sector remains under pressure both on the overseas and domestic front.
A clear sign of Thai International Airways stress is that Phuket passengers now flying to Bangkok on the first flight of the day are welcomed by a single body retrofitted Thai Smile plane, which has only economy service. Business class is not available for well-heeled customers.
On the global scene yesterday the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) put a red flag out on Thailand giving them ninety day to improve aviation safety standards.
There is some concerns that the European Aviation Safety Agency make a negative pronouncement next week on Thai based carriers flying to Europe. Of course Thai Airways is the only local carrier who would be impacted.
While on the financial front the airlines recently publically announced it would dispose of twenty-four aircraft over the next two years.
Aircraft on the blocks are primarily Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 planes and the massively failed Airbus A340 white elephants.
Hoteliers in Samui continue to closely monitor Thai's shifting approach to their Boeing 737 stable as these currently ply the route between the island and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport.
What is most likely to happen in the absence of the 737's is that a replacement in the route could be the re-fitted out Airbus single -body aircraft from Thai Smile.
Though the tourism industry remains looking at the sky for answers, one cause of concern could be the current economic issues facing Malaysia's starship AirAsia who have experienced a substantial downturn in load factors and is facing pressure from the financial markets over debt levels and accounting practices.
While the low-cost carriers have been a boom for Asia over the past decade, any marked volatility could cause a disruption to the mass markets.
Though the regional storyline of skyrocketing growth to the emerging middle class remains strong, the LCC's upward trajectory will likely face increased challenges going forward.