Thai Airways International (THAI) is set to receive the first of six A380s it has on order in the third quarter of 2012 – and the arrival of the world’s largest passenger jet ever built can’t come soon enough for the airline, which will configure the aircraft to carry 507 passengers on flights serving Frankfurt, London and Paris.
All three European destinations are extremely popular – so much so airlines are restricted to their existing slots with little opportunity to increase flight frequencies. This is where the big selling point of the A380 comes sharply into focus – it can carry up to 35% more passengers, helping to satisfy demand for more seats without the need for more slots. THAI’s Boeing 747-400s currently serving London and Frankfurt feature 375 seats; while its Boeing 777-300ERs in operation to Paris feature 312 seats. “Larger aircraft can help to ease airport congestion and provide greater passenger capacity and economy in operation, especially over intercontinental routes,” explains Mr. Piyasvasti Amranand, THAI’s President.
Its advanced engineering and technology also drastically reduce fuel burn, which results in up to 13% lower seat mile costs than other aircraft types: “With a full load it consumes less than three litres of fuel per passenger over 100km, comparable to an average family car,” adds Amranand. This will help ensure the airline is able to offer the most competitive fares on these sought-after routes.
And there’s even more good news for passengers – the A380 boasts the largest and widest cabin in sky, offering an exceptional onboard experience. “In service, the A380 has proved extremely popular with passengers, due to its sense of space and enhanced levels of comfort, in all classes,” says Amranand.
This view is backed up by research carried out by SKYTRAX, the world’s largest airline review website: “Where an airline operates a variety of widebody types, but have the A380 in their fleet, there is a continuing preference amongst most customer types to choose the flight that is scheduled on an A380,” says Edward Plaisted, chairman of SKYTRAX.
THAI plans to ensure its passengers are equally smitten with the A380: “Throughout its 50-year history, THAI has created an enviable reputation for the quality of its celebrated Royal Orchid Service as one of Asia’s most admired airlines,” says Amranand. “The six A380s joining the fleet will continue this tradition, but add new dimensions in customer appeal.”
In standard mode, the A380 can accommodate between 525 and 853 passengers, however THAI has decided to maximise space and comfort by installing only 507 seats in three classes: 12 in Royal First Class, 60 in Royal Silk (executive) Class, and 435 in economy. “This will ensure that all aspects of THAI’s inflight presentation, at every customer touchpoint, will maintain the airline’s competitive advantage as one of the world’s premier carriers.”
Details of what passengers can expect to find on board will be revealed in the coming months, however one tasty morsel of information already known is that THAI’s A380s will feature no less than seven galleys and food service stations – more than is offered on this aircraft type by any other airline. It would seem passengers can indeed expect a very tasty treat indeed when flying on THAI’s latest addition to its fleet!