Thai carriers temporarily suspend international flights

Thai low-cost carriers have announced temporary suspensions of international services.

Thai AirAsia says its suspension of international flights began on 22 March and will end on 25 April, and that the decision was taken “in accordance with travel restrictions being enforced by various governments and relevant health authorities”. Domestic flights will continue.

Cirium schedules data shows that prior to the suspension, Thai AirAsia had around 26% of its total capacity in February dedicated to international services. Flights to China, as well as to neighbouring countries Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore, are the hardest hit by the suspension.

Thai Lion Air, meanwhile, said in Facebook statement on 20 March that all flights would be suspended from 25 March to 30 April. But the following day the airline said domestic services would resume from 15 April.
Around 23% of Thai Lion Air’s February capacity was to foreign countries – a similar proportion to Thai AirAsia’s. However, Thai Lion Air is far more reliant on the China market, with Japan, Indonesia and Singapore as its next largest markets, schedules data indicates.

The least affected of the Thai short-haul low-cost operators is Nok Air, which only serves three international destinations from Bangkok: Hiroshima in Japan, Yangon in Myanmar, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Nok Air has not suspended its Hiroshima or Yangon services, but is not flying to Ho Chi Minh City between 21 March and 31 May.
Long-haul carrier Thai AirAsia X suspended flights to Japan and South Korea on 17 March, for up to three months. The carrier is also ending its Bangkok-Brisbane service on 7 April as part of a “route rationalisation initiative in response to the Covid-19 outbreak”.

NokScoot tells Cirium it is suspending all flights to China, India, Japan and Taiwan for the rest of March. An announcement on its April schedule is to follow. The carrier declined to comment on whether it planned to seek relief measures from the Thai government or undertake cost-cutting measures.

Given their lack of domestic operations, the suspension of international operations will effectively result in a grounding of NokScoot and Thai AirAsia X.

Joining in the suspension of international flights is full-service operator Bangkok Airways. It states that the suspension began on 22 March and will last “until further notice”.