Thai Airways is the latest international airline to suspend flights to Australia and New Zealand due to the impact of the coronavirus on both passenger demand and Australia's recently-imposed travel restrictions.
The Star Alliance member will close its routes to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland from the end of this week, with all services cancelled until at least July 1.
Even when those services re-open after four months they'll see an across the board reduction in frequency to as little as three flights per week. Here's the rundown:
- Sydney: cancelled from April 1, resuming July 1 at five flights per week on a Boeing 777-300ER
- Melbourne: cancelled from March 31, resuming July 1 at three flights per week on an Airbus A350
- Brisbane: cancelled from March 30, resuming July 1 at three flights per week on a Boeing 777-200ER
- Perth: cancelled from March 30, resuming July 1 at three flights per week on an Airbus A330
- Auckland: cancelled from March 29, resuming July 1 at three flights per week on a Boeing 787-9
The situation for Thai Airways and visitors to Thailand has been made all the more difficult by a Government requirement that before entering the country, all foreign travellers must produce a certificate showing "a test confirming they did not have the Covid-19."
“A medical certificate must include results of a Covid-19 test with negative results," a Public Health Ministry spokeswoman said. "The testing method will vary from country to country."
As testing kits are limited and ostensibly healthy people not encouraged to be tested, so as to prioritise tests for suspected cases and those with special employment requirements, the Thai rules amount to a de facto ban on all foreigners.
Thai extends Royal Orchid Plus status
In light of reduced flying, Thai Airways is halving the number of Qualifying Miles needed for members of its Royal Orchid Plus loyalty program to retain their current status.
"We understand your travel may be curtailed at this time, and we know your top tier status is important to you," the airline says.
Royal Orchid Plus members whose status is due to expire between February 1 and August 21 2020 will need to collect only 25,000 Qualifying Miles in the prior 12 months or 40,000 Qualifying Miles across the previous 24 months, if they have Gold status, to see their membership renewed for one year.
For Royal Orchid Plus Platinum members whose status is due to expire between February 1 and August 21 2020, the tally has been dropped to 40,000 Qualifying Miles across the previous two years.