Thai Airways Denies That It Is Seeking To Order 20-30 New Planes

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Thai Airways will not be buying 30 new planes by 2025, its acting president said Tuesday. Should demand increase to such levels that the airline would need more aircraft, it would instead look to leasing options not to lose competitive advantage. The carrier is due to submit its business rehabilitation plan to the bankruptcy court next week.

Thai Airways has denied any plans to add up to 30 new planes to its fleet in the next five years. Photo: Getty Images

Plans to decommission, not acquisition

Just a few days ago, the Internet was abuzz with rumours that Thai Airways could be looking to buy as many as 20 to 30 aircraft by 2025. However, the airline’s acting president, Chansin Treenuchagron, has now denied those claims.

Speaking to media outlet The Nation on Tuesday, Mr Treenuchagron said that there were no such plans. Should demand increase, the carrier would instead look to leasing options.

“There is a rumour that THAI would submit a plan to buy new planes along with the company’s business rehabilitation plan to the Central Bankruptcy Court on March 2, but this is not true,” the acting president said.

“Before entering the rehabilitation process, THAI already had a plan to decommission old planes that required high maintenance cost and had low fuel efficiency,” he continued.

Furthermore, Mr Treenuchagron added that the company remains committed to downsizing its fleet over the next five years. It also aims to reduce maintenance costs to ‘only necessary’ levels, identify new revenue streams, and increase administrative efficiency.

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Thai A380
Thai Airways will not be bringing back its A380s into service. Photo: Toshi Aoki – JP Spotters via Wikimedia

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Assessing strategic needs

Meanwhile, Mr Treenuchagron did not rule out that different planes could join the Thai fleet in a not too distant future. If air travel demand recovers and continues to increase, the carrier’s strategic committee would estimate long- and medium-term needs, potentially acquiring additional planes ‘based on cost-effectiveness.’

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Should Thai Airways have been hatching the previously alleged plans of acquisition, it would have meant replacing many of the 42 aircraft currently listed for sale via Thai Aircraft Trading. Reports have also emerged that the airline could be retiring vastly more planes, with neither the Boeing 747s, A380s, nor A330s returning to service.

Thai-Airways-Restructuring-lay-offs-getty
The Thai government has had to sell down its majority share in the airline. Photo: Getty Images

Not only planes saying goodbye

The struggling flag-carrier will be submitting its business rehabilitation plan to the Central Bankruptcy Court on March 2nd. Unfortunately, as well as letting go of aircraft, this will also include the lay-off of 395 additional pilots.

Since entering bankruptcy protection in May last year, the airline has cut over 6,000 jobs, equaling 30% of its workforce. The court has also said it would cut 240 executive positions and remove two out of eight supervisory levels.

Furthermore, the Thai government has had to sell down its majority stake. However, after defaulting on debts last summer, the airline has made some progress renegotiating deals with lessors and creditors.

What do you make of Thai Airways’ imminent future? What more could the restructuring plan hold? Tell us in the comment section. 

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