Thai Airways International intends to return to the United States market after completing a United Nations safety upgrade of its aviation sector bolstered the odds of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following suit.
The carrier is keen on adding flights to America in 2018 if the FAA endorses Thailand to its top safety pro, said Krittaphon Chantalitanon, Vice-President of Alliances and Commercial strategy. He mentioned that the airline would add a maximum of 28 narrow-and wide-body aircraft to renew its fleet.
“Part of the strategic plan is to have the aircraft that would be able to fly non-stop from Thailand to the US efficiently,” Krittaphon said, noting that the firm is also trimming costs to curtail losses and obtain sustained profitability next year.
Earlier this month, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization took away a red flag that was slapped on Thailand in 2015 over safety concerns, after corrective steps were made by the Thai military government.
The red flag resulted in an FAA downgrade to Category 2, which barred Thai carriers from adding new services to the world’s top aviation market by passengers.
Krittaphon said he is hopeful the FAA would promote Thailand given the improvements made by the country’s carriers and civil aviation authority.
“We have been working very hard on cost restructuring. We have to be leaner,” said Krittaphon, who added that eventual non-stop flights to the US may connect Bangkok to California or New York.
Load factor, a measure of capacity utilization, has surpassed 80% in the past three months, Krittaphon said, and operations to Vienna would launch next month, with the city becoming a critical hub.