Thai Airways International, Thailand main’s carrier has finally introduced its flagship A380 on the coveted Bangkok-London Heathrow on July 1st 2015. The move comes more than two years after the aircraft became operational in Thai service. The route had been traditionally operated by Boeing 747-400s up until the middle of 2012 when the aircraft were withdrawn for cabin upgrades. After the one-year hiatus necessitated by the cabin upgrade work, the 747-400s returned to service on March 31st 2013 with a four airplanes rotation servicing the two daily frequencies. That one year span between upgrade was completed saw the interim use of the A340-600.
At that time in 2013 Thai Airways had only taken delivery of 4 of the 6 A380 it had on order with Airbus. While two aircraft were assigned on each of the Frankfurt and Paris destinations, the airline’s management never fully committed the type on the London route despite expectations that delivery of the 2 remaining A380 scheduled to arrive by late 2013 would make additional aircraft available. A380 service to London was first scheduled to launch December 1st 2013 but was postponed first until October 30th of the following year 2014, and then indefinitely. In the meantime the carrier curiously downgraded capacity on the line by withdrawing one of the two 747-400 with a A340-600.
Thai Airways International 747-400s are configured with 374 seats comprising 9 in First, 40 in Business and 325 in Economy. The A340-600 can seat 267 with 8 in First, 60 in Business and 199 in Economy. The A380 for its part boosts capacity to 507 with 12 seats in First, 60 in Business and 435 in Economy.