As part of its ongoing restructuring efforts, Thai Airways has put three more widebody airplanes along with a flight simulator up for sale. The three Airbus A330 aircraft join a long list of widebodies that the carrier has already decided to get rid of as it looks to restructure its fleet following the pandemic.
And now the A330s
Like most airlines around the world, Thai Airways plans to rely more on modern fuel-efficient twin-engine airplanes. While the airline had already put several widebody airplanes up for sale late last year, its A330s were not part of the initial list.
Then, last month it was reported that three of its A330s have also fallen prey to the carrier’s restructuring plans. Thai has also added a flight simulator to the list of equipment it no longer needs.
According to a report by AeroTime Hub, of the carrier’s 15 A330s, the following three have been made redundant:
All three airplanes have an average age of around 12.5 years.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
The list is long
As reported earlier, Thai Airways put 34 airplanes up for sale late last year, of which 32 were widebodies. The list included 12 of its older 777s, nine A340s, two 737s, one A300, and all 10 of its remaining 747-400s.
Thai Airways dropping its 747s came as no surprise as the fuel-guzzling quadjet is out of favor with most airlines worldwide. However, it will be slightly tricky to find a new owner for these, especially for a passenger version. The Queens are just no longer financially viable, with other more competitive twin jets in the market. Cargo airlines could be potential customers for the jumbos if they are willing to bear the costs of reconfiguration and conversion. However, with airlines tightening their purse strings in a post-pandemic world, this too looks tricky.
The carrier’s A380s have also not remained immune to the pandemic. As reported earlier this year, the airline was testing the market to see if there were any takers for two of its six superjumbos.
Restructuring to stay afloat
Thai Airways has been losing money since before the pandemic. In 2019, the Asian carrier reported a loss of 12.2 billion Baht ($385 million). The forces of pandemic-induced shutdowns were so immense that by May 2020, the airline had to file for bankruptcy protection due to massive debts of more than $9.8 billion.
Over the last few months, the carrier has been making strategic efforts to cut losses to stay afloat. Selling off its old airplanes is part of the larger restructuring plan that Thai has been pursuing aggressively for a while now. Unfortunately, staff lay-offs also feature in the carrier’s long-term rehabilitation plan, possibly reducing up to half of the total workforce in the next four years.
The airline has also found non-traditional ways of generating much-needed cash in recent months. From renting out, and now even selling, its flight simulators to introducing its signature dishes in supermarkets and stores, the carrier collected $48.4 million in the first half of 2021 as non-ticket revenues.
While things are far from perfect for Thai Airways, it continues to crawl to remain in business. In June this year, the carrier’s rehabilitation plan was approved by Bangkok’s Central Bankruptcy Court. The airline has even managed to clear payments of $37.5 million to creditors within the deadline as instructed by the courts. Still, it seems Thai Airways has a long way to go to see any semblance of normality.