We have to admit to have always been sceptical about the concept of low cost long-haul travel. Whilst the concept has been much talked about and there have been a number of low cost long-haul carriers in Asia Pacific (such as Qantas offshoot JetStar), it has not gained traction in Europe.
That is until now. Norwegian has established a small base at London Gatwick (albeit this has not translated into financial success for Norwegian). And now Lufthansa has launched a low cost long-haul carrier under the name Eurowings.
It will be based in Cologne and initially offer flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Dubai, Varadero and Punta Cana. Flights will launch from late October 2015 and connections are available from London Heathrow and other UK cities.
Over the past fifteen years, Finnair has been steadily, but surely, building a niche as the European airline that provides the most efficient link between Europe and Asia via its hub in Helsinki.
In 2000, Finnair served just three destinations in Asia. Now, it serves 15 destinations. Finnair also serves a number of cities without direct links to London including Chongqing and Xi’an in China and Nagoya and Osaka in Japan.
Unfortunately, this has yet to translate into long term profitability for the airline. On Friday, Finnair joined the list of European airlines to issue a profit warning.
However, the airline is committed to its strategy and aims to double revenues from Asia by 2020. This week, Finnair revealed the interiors for its new Airbus A350 aircraft which will replace its quad-engine Airbus A340 aircraft and ply routes from Helsinki to Asia from mid 2015.
The airline has 11 firm orders for Airbus A350 aircraft, and a further 8 options.
The aircraft will initially be deployed on flights to Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing in 2015. Hong Kong and Singapore will be served by the A350 in 2016.
This seat provides both a fully flat bed and direct aisle access for all passengers, which is increasingly becoming standard for business class cabins. Finnair’s seat will also include touchscreen in flight entertainment and AC and USB power sockets. There will be a total of 46 seats in the cabin.
As has been widely reported in the media, on 22 May, the Royal Thai Army imposed Martial Law in Thailand. The military authorities in Thailand have imposed a nationwide daily curfew between the hours of 10pm and 5am. Broadcasters such as the BBC and CNN have also been taken off air.
British Airways and Thai Airways fly daily and twice daily respectively from London Heathrow to Suvarnabhumi International airport Bangkok under the following flight numbers:
British Airways has today confirmed that it is, with immediate effect, to offer codeshares with Bangkok Airways on flights from Bangkok to Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and from Singapore to Koh Samui. These are three of the eight destinations in Thailand served by Bangkok Airways.
The move is not surprising. Both Bangkok and Singapore have previously acted as a “scissor hub” for British Airways and Qantas to provide onward connections to numerous cities in Australia. Although these codeshares between British Airways and Qantas are still in place, these are less competitive for passengers arriving from London. This is because Qantas has retimed its Australia bound flights from Bangkok and Singapore after ceasing to fly from London to Bangkok and Singapore.
BA has also downgraded the Bangkok route from a four class Boeing 747 to a three class Boeing 777 from 27 October 2013, indicating under performance on this route.
British Airways has confirmed today that its (near) daily flight to Bangkok, BA9, will undergo a change of departure terminal at Heathrow, aircraft type and timing from the start of the Winter 2013 season on Sunday 27 October 2013.
The flight which currently departs from Heathrow Terminal 3 at 22:05 to arrive in Bangkok at 15:20 will transfer to Terminal 5 from 27 October 2013.
The operating aircraft will also a change from a four class Boeing 747 to a three class Boeing 777.
Furthermore, the departure time will change to 15:05, arriving in Bangkok at 09:20 and returning from Bangkok at 10:55 to arrive at Heathrow at 16:55. This is also the last BA operated long-haul flight to transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5.