Home' Asian Aviation : AAV July August 2011 Contents General News
Thai Airways International's board has approved
a fleet modernisation programme that will see
the airline buy 15 new aircraft and lease 22 more
up to 2017.
The airline will order: six Boeing 777-
300ERs, for delivery from May 2014 through
to September 2015; four Airbus A350-900s,
for delivery from the second quarter of 2016
through to the third quarter of 2017 and five
single-aisle A320-200s for delivery in 2014 and
In addition, eight 787s, eight A350-900s and
six A320-200s will be acquired under 12-year
operating leases to be delivered, respectively,
in 2014-2017, 2016-2017 and 2012-2013.
Thai Airways also has outstanding orders for six
A380-800s -- booked in 2006 with delivery to
start in October 2012 -- and eight A330-300s,
ordered in 2009. Two A330s will be delivered in
the third quarter of this year, followed by three a
year for the next two years.
The carrier's decision to replace its
Boeing 737-400 narrowbody fleet
with the A320 comes as a blow to
Boeing, which was offering its Next-
Generation 737 family.
The new aircraft acquisition is
part of Thai's plan to enhance its
product offering. The carrier is now
also installing new economy class
seats in 12 Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
This is expected to be completed by
the second quarter of 2013.
Thai Airways Chairman Ampon
Kittiampon says in a statement
that the carrier expects to generate
high profits through continuous
strong growth, strengthening its financial
position and enhancing its competitiveness
in the international market. The carrier is
confident the new aircraft will yield substantial
fuel and maintenance savings, as well as
reducing harmful emissions to help the carrier
meet tougher European Union environmental
regulations that take effect in January 2012.
According to a Thai Airways official in
Bangkok, the board approved a revised fleet
modernisation plan ahead of Thailand's general
election on 3 July, for fear that any new
government could scrap or shelve the proposal.
"There has been too much political
interference in the airline's operations, which
has left the carrier with several aircraft types,
engines and also cabin interiors, resulting in high
operating costs," the official tells Asian Aviation,
on condition of anonymity.
On 10 June, the board turned down an earlier
proposal to acquire 75 single- and twin-aisle
aircraft in two phases. The first phase was to
cover 37 aircraft to be delivered between 2011
and 2017, followed by 38 more in the second
phase, arriving between 2018 and 2022. Last
September, Boeing had put forward its own fleet
proposal for evaluation by the airline, comprising
ten 747-8s, 30 787s, 18 737-NGs and two 747-
With the arrival of the new equipment, Thai
Airways will gradually retire 18 747-400s, some
of its older 777-200s, 17 A300-600s -- which are
more than 20 years old -- and nine 737-400s,
including three now leased to low-cost carrier
Three 777-300ERs, leased from jet Airways,
will be returned as the leases expire in 2012.
Two of the four 747-400s to be retired later
this year will be converted into freighters, with
both expected to return to service in the second
quarter of 2012.
The A300s, originally decommissioned in 2008
and 2009, were brought back into service in
January 2010, to plug a capacity gap caused by
a nine-month delay in the supply by Yokohama-
based Koito industries of seats for five out of
eight new A330s the airline had ordered.
Separately, Ampon denies that the Ministry
of Finance plans to reduce its stake in the airline
by 1.04 percent to 49.99 percent, declining to
elaborate. In early June, Thai Airways president
Piyasvasti Amranand said the ministry would sell
a 1.04 percent stake in the carrier to the Crown
Property Bureau, to make the airline a private
company. -- William Dennis
Thai Airways to acquire new aircraft in modernisation
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will join Oneworld,
the global airline alliance has confirmed. The
Kuala Lumpur-based will now become the
group's first South-East Asian member.
"A formal alliance membership agreement
will be completed soon," Oneworld says in a
Based on a typical 18-month integration
process and safety audit, MAS is expected
to be a full member of the group by the end
2012. Members-elect Kingfisher Airlines and
Air Berlin are both on track to join early the
The other members of the alliance are:
American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay
Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines,
LAN Peru, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana,
LAN, Qantas and Royal Jordanian Airlines.
MAS' decision to join Oneworld has come
as a surprise because of its long-standing
relationship with Air France-KLM, a member
of the rival SkyTeam alliance.
MAS Managing Director Azmil Zaharuddin
says the carrier's planned entry into Oneworld
does not mean that it will have to terminate
existing arrangements with airlines outside
the group, although these will be reviewed.
Oneworld says that MAS will develop
bilateral ties with other member of the
alliance as it prepares for membership. The
Malaysian carrier already code-shares with
Cathay and Royal Jordanian.-- William
Malaysia Airlines prepares to join Oneworld alliance
Thai Airways fleet modernisation programme
includes the purchase of six new 777s.
8 AsianAviation | JULY-AUGUST 2011
Links Archive AAV June 2011 AAV September 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page