Thai Airways has launched daily Dreamliner flights between Auckland and Bangkok, giving New Zealand businesses extra capacity to take advantage of fast-growing trade ties with Thailand.
The additional flights will add 1,200 seats a week between the two cities, and grow freight capacity by 51 tonnes per week, an increase of 68 percent.
“We’re committed to helping grow and strengthen New Zealand’s market ties with Thailand through our new daily Dreamliner service which will offer business travellers 30 Royal Silk Class seats (business) to Bangkok daily, boosting business class capacity by 40 per cent per week,” says Thai Airways General Manager for New Zealand Karun Sirarojanakul.
The expansion in capacity comes as New Zealand exporters are increasingly taking advantage of improved market access with Thailand. The two countries signed an agreement in Bangkok earlier this year increasing the volume of New Zealand dairy products that can enter Thailand under a preferential tariff rate, and trade between the two countries has generally been growing in recent years.
The latest increase in seating capacity means Thai International Airways has added more than 30,000 seats to the Auckland-Bangkok route per year.
The Dreamliner replaces the 777-200ER aircraft, used on the route since 2008. Given the extended capacity and range of the new 787-9 Dreamliner, it can transport more passengers as well as cargo, opening new long distance non-stop routes for the airline as a result.
Thailand is now New Zealand’s eighth largest trade market, with total trade in goods between the countries increasing almost 150 per cent since the Closer Economic Partnership was signed in 2005.
The total trade figure between New Zealand and Thailand is now worth $3.62 billion and it is estimated this service is worth $53 million to New Zealand’s economy.
Sirarojanakul says, “There has been an increasing demand for business class seats and the Dreamliner is our commitment to support business growth on the Auckland-Bangkok route.”
December marks the 30th anniversary of flights between New Zealand and Thailand.