Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Sept 2010 Contents 8 AsianAviation | SEPTEMBER 2010
Thai Airways' board has given the go ahead for
the airline to take a 15.5 billion baht (US$515.2
million) loan from a consortium of four Thai
banks, led by Bangkok Bank.
The loan will be used to partly pay for the
acquisition of seven Airbus A330-300s, ordered
in August, and eight Boeing 777-300ERs, as
well as improving the airline's cash flow. Two
A330-300s will be delivered in third quarter of
2011, three in 2012 and the remaining two in
2013. The 777-300ERs are slated for delivery in
2012 and 2013.
With its winter traffic starting 31 October,
Thai Airways will add capacity on a number of
Daily flights to Tokyo's Haneda airport will
be introduced, while services to Helsinki,
Finland, will be increased by two weekly
flights to a daily frequency. One weekly flight
will also be added to Moscow, making the
service four-times weekly, and services to
Sydney, Australia, will be increased by four to
18 flights a week.
Frequencies to Nagoya, Japan, will rise from
seven to 10 per week, Fukuoka and Kolkata
services will increase from five flights weekly to
a daily service, and the current daily service to
Mumbai will be doubled. -- William Dennis
Oman Air, flag carrier of the Sultanate of Oman,
says it sees tremendous growth potential in the
Asian market. The carrier is looking at starting
services to Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and
Jakarta over the next two years, as well as
adding to its existing services to India.
The airline now operates to 16 destinations
in Asia, including ten in India, two in Pakistan
(Lahore, and Islamabad), Bangkok, Colombo,
Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur. According to
Philippe Georgiou, the company's chief officer
for corporate affairs, Oman Air is hoping to
tap demand from both business and leisure
The Muscat-based airline started operations in
1993, operating mainly domestic flights with a
few international services, using five leased 737s
while still being an active shareholder of Gulf
Air. Bahrain-based Gulf Air was then owned
jointly by the Kingdom of Bahrain, Oman, the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Qatar, with each
holding a 25 percent stake.
Georgiou says the four shareholders of Gulf
Air decided in the early 2000s to set up their
own flag carriers. "The main reason was that
the four countries were all developed and have
an abundance of oil reserves to supply to their
respective carriers," he explains.
Oman pulled out of unprofitable Gulf Air
in 2007, to concentrate on the development
of Oman Air. It was then that the Omani
government decided to inject fresh capital and
expand Oman Air's fleet and network. The
government increased its stake in the airline
from 33 to 80 percent.
In 2007, Oman Air ordered six Boeing 787s,
seven Airbus A330-200s -- six of which have
already been delivered -- and five Embraer 175s.
The remaining A330 will arrive in 2011, while
the first 787 is slated for delivery in 2014, with
the remaining five to be handed over on a
staggered schedule through to 2016.
The 787s will be deployed on European
routes -- currently covering London, Paris,
Frankfurt, Milan and Munich.
The airline also operates a fleet of 15,
single-aisle 737-800 jetliners and two ATR72-
500 turboprops. Oman Air has set up its own
engineering unit to maintain its fleet, with the
capability to carry out A, B and C checks for
737-800s and ATR72s, as well as overhaul of
components and equipment.
"Oman Air started on a small scale, but
within three years has expanded quite
aggressively," Georgiou says.
Oman Air has no current plans to operate
to the US, but does not rule out the possibility
of launching flights in the future. -- William
NEWS IN BRIEF
MALAYSIA AIRLINES's freight unit MASkargo
is to expand its fleet with the addition of two
Airbus A330-200 freighters by the end of 2011.
The cargo carrier ordered the two aircraft in
March, taking an additional two options, which,
if converted into firm orders, could be delivered
by the first half of 2012. The first of the aircraft
now on firm order is scheduled to be handed
over in September 2011, with the second to
follow in November. The airline is also planning
to lease a fifth Boeing 747-200F freighter from
Southern Air, starting in September.
TIBET AIRLINES, a Lhasa-based start-up carrier, is
set to become Airbus' newest customer in China
after selecting the single-aisle A319 jetliner to
build up its fleet. The airline, which obtained
approval from the Civil Aviation Administration
of China (CAAC) in March 2010, has signed a
commitment to acquire three A319s, configured
for 128 passengers in two classes, including eight
first-class seats. The carrier plans to operate the
A319s on regional and domestic routes.
TG gets nod for loan
Oman Air sees expansion
potential in Asian market
Oman Air has expanded
aggressively in the past
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