(CTN News) – Thai Airways (THAI) is set to purchase a minimum of 30 new aircraft by the end of this year, with the potential to double its fleet of narrow-body jets over the next decade.
The CEO of THAI, Chai Eamsiri, revealed the airline’s intention to issue a “request for proposal” to aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, signaling its interest in procuring 30 wide-body and an undisclosed number of narrow-body aircraft.
This strategic move aims to capitalize on the anticipated travel surge post-pandemic, particularly by strengthening regional routes. However, concerns have arisen regarding the ability of Airbus and Boeing to meet delivery targets due to production capacity constraints.
Current Fleet and Planned Expansion:
Thai Airways, which initiated a bankruptcy-protected debt restructuring of 400 billion baht (US$11.17 billion) in 2021, currently operates a fleet of 20 Airbus A320 aircraft.
Additionally, the airline has secured leasing agreements for a dozen new A321neo aircraft, expected to be delivered in 2025 and 2026. These aircraft will be primarily deployed on medium-haul routes within Southeast Asia, India, southern China, and southern Japan.
Chai emphasized that Thai Airways aims to increase its wide-body fleet from 45 aircraft to 56 by the first quarter of the next year. This expansion will involve dry lease contracts, typically excluding crew services.
The additional wide-body jets will be utilized for long-distance intercontinental routes, particularly those to Australia and Europe, which have demonstrated a robust recovery following the pandemic.
Positive Performance and Future Plans:
In the last quarter, THAI achieved an 84% cabin factor, representing the percentage of seats sold. Chai expressed optimism about bookings from markets such as Europe, describing them as “promising.”
This positive performance further motivates THAI’s expansion plans and reinforces its confidence in the post-pandemic recovery of the aviation industry.
Chai, who assumed the CEO role in November, stated that THAI’s restructuring plan, driven by the impact of the pandemic, remains on track.
The airline anticipates relisting on the stock market by the first quarter of 2025, demonstrating its commitment to restoring financial stability and sustainability.
Thai Airways is strategically positioning itself to leverage the projected resurgence in travel demand by expanding its fleet by acquiring 30 new aircraft.
With a focus on strengthening regional routes and capitalizing on recovering long-haul markets, THAI aims to enhance its market position and contribute to revitalizing the aviation industry.