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Thai Airways

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Crushed
On 08/09/2019 at 15:48, GoodMan555 said:

Thanks Zeb.  It's interesting that you guys still call them "Middle Easterns, Indians, and Chinese" although they are now Australian citizens.  What do you guys call the Caucasians?  Do you still call them English, German, etc?  How about the Latins?  What do you call the Latins in Australia?

There really aren't many Latin Americans in Australia or New Zealand(never really been many Americans of any extraction here).  My brother-in-law is Mexican but my sister met him when she was a high school exchange student in Mexico. 

China, the Middle East and India are much closer geographically. 

Edited by Crushed

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Explorer8939

Getting back to Thai Airways, they tried nonstop flights from the USA just before the Great Recession, using Airbus 340s. The experiment ended quickly, and I always wondered what they did with the 340s. I saw some yesterday, parked on the fringes of Don Mueang airport. So, they never sold them, nor parked them in a long term storage facility, they just left them to rot.

 

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semi-retired member

They were unable to make a profit, because of the high cost of crewing or hauling fuel for the final few hours, on ultra-long routes. Much cheaper to stop & refuel/change-crews halfway.

And the unwillingness of the market (that's us, folks !) to pay the ultra-high prices needed to generate a profit.  This was a problem common to many operators of these ULT models.

The Thai Airways board may have had an accounting-difficulty, that if they accepted some reasonable bids which were made for their A340s, then they might/would be held responsible for the write-offs in book-value of these anyway-grounded/unused aircraft.  So they kicked the can down the road, a typical Thai solution.  Ignore the problem, and it will become some other bugger's problem, in time !

IME many managements/boards have difficulty facing up to a market change, which makes their plans unachieveable, they remain wedded to their original (appropriate at-the-time) strategy long past the point where a new strategy became necessary.

I believe that one of these planes may have gone to the military ?  For use as a VIP-transport ?

 

Edited by semi-retired member

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brutox
1 hour ago, Explorer8939 said:

Getting back to Thai Airways, they tried nonstop flights from the USA just before the Great Recession, using Airbus 340s. The experiment ended quickly

 

1 hour ago, semi-retired member said:

They were unable to make a profit, because of the high cost of crewing or hauling fuel for the final few hours, on ultra-long routes.

A friend and Bain Consulting partner specializing in the air travel sector spent time inside Thai Airways during that period helping to (.. well .. he described, trying to help) restructure Thai Airways .. the money losing non-stop BKK-NYC route would have been impacted by the reasons you described above, semi-retired member.

However, the 'kill shot' to their profitability that my friend described was more difficult to cure .. knowing the Thai business culture here quite well, he concluded that it was unsolvable.

My friend explained that airlines only 'pay the bills' with fare-paying economy class passengers on long haul international routes .. their profits on these routes are made on fare-paying business and first class passengers.

As the national carrier, Thai Airways has long been infected with abuse .. he explained that the business and first class cabins in the NYC-BKK route were constantly filled with non-revenue generating passengers .. Thai Airways directors and senior management, and military, political and government officials filled these cabins .. and .. even their family members, to whom Thai Airways free ticketing policy was/is notoriously generous.

He explained that fully loaded with fare-paying economy class passengers, these flights lost money simply due to the high non-revenue generating burden in the business and first class cabins, and that there was little/nothing the management could do to prevent it.

 

Edited by brutox

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Jarrod2518
29 minutes ago, brutox said:

and that there was little/nothing the management could do to prevent it.

I do not have the details however a few friends from the airline industry have in the past informed me that the Thai Air free travel and ticket discount entitlements are unbelievably generous.  It not possible to seek to reform the free and discounted travel entitlements? After all is that not the responsibility of the Thai Air Board? Or is this perhaps, like their Constitution, another example of Thai-ness?

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brutox
1 hour ago, brutox said:

... and that there was little/nothing the management could do to prevent it.

 

50 minutes ago, Jarrod2518 said:

I do not have the details however a few friends from the airline industry have in the past informed me that the Thai Air free travel and ticket discount entitlements are unbelievably generous.  [Is] It not possible to seek to reform the free and discounted travel entitlements? After all is that not the responsibility of the Thai Air Board? Or is this perhaps, like their Constitution, another example of Thai-ness?

Uhhh .. I am guessing that you do not live here, Jarrrod2518 .. :D.

If not, you can be forgiven for such insane thoughts .. if so .. mmm, you really do need to get out a little more, bud .. :wink:.

I know one of their former BOD and am one person removed from a couple of others .. believe me, they are not appointed for any industry authority they earned .. it is more of a reward.
 

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Kannikar
12 hours ago, Explorer8939 said:

Getting back to Thai Airways, they tried nonstop flights from the USA just before the Great Recession, using Airbus 340s. The experiment ended quickly, and I always wondered what they did with the 340s. I saw some yesterday, parked on the fringes of Don Mueang airport. So, they never sold them, nor parked them in a long term storage facility, they just left them to rot.

 

This is exeptionally not Thai Airways fault. The A-340 series is simply unsaleable. The same will happens with the A-380 in near future. Sad but true.

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semi-retired member

I disagree to some extent, the A340 was designed for ULRs when fuel was cheaper, and the airlines had said that they wanted this new 4-engined plane, perhaps especially for trans-Pacific routes with fewer runways available for  diversions.  Then oil went up & GEC happened, the customers preferred cheaper-flights, and the routes were withdrawn because they lost money.  The market-demand had changed.

Nowdays the more-modern twin-jets can offer the same longer-range & fuel-efficiency, so they're selling well once more, and Thai did get offers for some of their A340s (a broker from the Middle-east, IIRC) but the Board refused the realistic (but below book-value) price offered, as I recall.

Emirates currently expect to operate the A380 until the early-2030s. It works for them. But the market has moved again, and prefers smaller/thinner point-to-point routes more-frequently, instead of flying between the global hubs.  If Chinese travellers continue to book, then we may yet see the need for bigger planes re-emerge, but it looks now as though large economical twin-jets are the future.

Thai is generally agreed to have too many aircraft-types in its fleet, probably for reasons mentioned above, but fleet-renewal & the never-ending search for efficiency demand new orders.  The question is how to finance them, without constantly going to the government cap-in-hand, they've certainly leased more of their A320s in recent times.

It's frustrating, a major tourist-destination country like Thailand ought to to be able to support a decent/profitable national-carrier in my own view, but there are cultural/management problems.  Then again Spain & Greece & Italy all have the same problem.

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joffie

At the time, the A340-500 was the longest range aircraft in the world.  Both Singapore and Thai competed on flying them from Asia to America.  I remember flying SQ around 2010 however now a days there is really no use for the aircraft and they are not wanted even as a cheap second hand so they are hanging around in Rayong until they can either be sold, or returned to the lessor.

https://www.aerotime.aero/yulius.yoma/17302-thai-Airways-strives-to-sell-its-a340s

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Explorer8939

Lufthansa used to have the toilets in the cargo holds of its A340s, plenty of room down there.

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semi-retired member

Showing my age a bit, I recall that in the 80s Gulf Air's Tri-Stars (aka 'Golden Budgies') supposedly had a premium-lounge downstairs, in the cargo-hold space ?

But I never actually saw that, as then as now, I was a strictly-Economy flyer  ...  although I've never complained about being up-graded ! :rolleyes:

And of course there are various ingenious crew-rest areas, squirreled-away on various aircraft-types, perhaps they might have made good short-time rooms for crew wanting to earn a bit of extra in-flight cash ? :P  They could invent a new Mile-High-Club category of frequent-flyer status ? ! :D

Meanwhile the Thai Airways commercial-trainwreck lumbers onwards  ...  I'm flying BKK-LHR with them next week, but don't expect anything more than merely-adequate. Except that seating is still 3-3-3 on their B773s, must try to give credit where it's due, eh ?

 

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