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Malaysia and Thailand back on the British Airways route map

Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are back on the British Airways map – however the link to the Thai capital is way diminished in contrast with the pre-Covid period.

Starting with the winter 2024-25 schedules in late October, BA Boeing 777s will depart thrice every week from London Gatwick to Bangkok. Previously the airline flew each day from Heathrow. First class has additionally been dropped, although it stays obtainable on BA’s rivals from Heathrow to the Thai capital.

Thai Airways operates twice each day from Heathrow to Bangkok, whereas Eva Air goes nonstop on the identical route as soon as a day.

Back on-line: Khao San Road in Bangkok, to which British Airways will return in October 2024

(Simon Calder)

Daily BA flights to Kuala Lumpur will resume from London Heathrow, utilizing a four-class Boeing 787. The airline says the transfer back to Southeast Asia demonstrates its “commitment to expanding its network to Asia post-pandemic”.

The aviation schedule analyst, Sean Moulton, mentioned the transfer “appears to be a change of strategy, moving away from the core BA market connecting Europe and India with the US and Canada”.

He mentioned: “Kuala Lumpur has very few direct links to Europe so BA will be able to tap into unserved connections. Bangkok shifting to Gatwick shows the lower yields but popularity of the route.”

For many years Bangkok was a key vacation spot for British Airways from London Heathrow. BA even launched a direct link from Manchester to the Thai capital, although it was quickly dropped because of unprofitability.

Even earlier than Covid, British Airways struggled to generate income on the Heathrow-Bangkok link. The majority of UK guests to Thailand now journey on the Gulf-based airways: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. They provide huge quantities of capability out of the UK through their hubs. Qatar Airways has six flights a day from Doha to Bangkok whereas Emirates operates 5 each day Airbus A380 “SuperJumbo” plane from Dubai to the Thai capital.

BA’s Heathrow operation is concentrated on premium cabins, and there may be merely not enough demand to fill the extra fascinating seats profitably. Costs of working from Gatwick are decrease, permitting BA to set extra aggressive fares.

The restored hyperlinks with Southeast Asia had been introduced by the airline’s chairman and chief govt, Sean Doyle, at the launch of what’s described as a £7bn modernisation plan.

He mentioned: “We’re going to take delivery of new aircraft, introduce new cabins, elevate our customer care, focus on operational performance and address our environmental impact by reducing our emissions and creating a culture of sustainability.”

Mr Doyle added the airline is “laser-focused on transforming our business and fixing any pain points for our customers”.

From 3 April, members of BA’s Executive Club members will begin to have the ability to ship messages on a single gadget utilizing the airline’s wifi, freed from cost. The airline says the service will probably be obtainable on each wifi-enabled plane inside two weeks of the rollout date.

New plane cabins and seats are promised on the newest Airbus A320 sequence short-haul planes, together with “extra-large bins for overhead luggage”. British Airways at present has the most beneficiant free cabin baggage allowance in Europe, comprising two baggage weighing as much as 23kg every.

For more travel news, views and advice from Simon, download his daily Independent Travel podcast.

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