Thai Airways has cancelled plans to deploy Airbus A380 aircraft on one of its two daily Bangkok-London Heathrow services.
The carrier, which was due to introduce the aircraft on 1 December, attributed the delay to wing-fix works that will rectify the cracks found on the aircraft's wing-ribs.
"As wing-rib cracks were found on A380 aircraft in 2012, any A380 aircraft delivered before 2014 will be grounded after reaching a certain number of flight hours in order to modify the wing-rib," says an airline spokeswoman. "Therefore, four of Thai's A380 aircraft will be grounded for wing-rib modification from April 2014 onwards for a minimum of two and a half months for each aircraft."
The airline also says that its technical team is co-ordinating with Airbus to define the exact modification period that will be spent on each aircraft. Plans to use the A380 on the London route will be revisited after discussions between the two parties have been finalised, the carrier adds.
Meanwhile, Thai will continue to deploy Airbus A340-600s and Boeing 747-400s on the Bangkok-London Heathrow route. Its A380s are deployed on services from Bangkok to Hong Kong, Tokyo Narita, Frankfurt and Paris.
Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleet database shows that Thai operates four A380s and has another two on order. These are scheduled to be delivered in October (MSN131) and November (MSN125).