Thai Airways stated it has commenced talks with Airbus on the possibility of acquiring up to 30 A350XWB aircraft and six additional A380s, to replace ageing A340, B777-200ERs and B777-300ERs used on long-haul sectors (Bangkok Post, 16-Aug-2010). The aircraft would cost USD9.12 billion at list prices. According to a draft plan presented to THAI's Board, the airline expects to have a fleet of 102 aircraft by 2026 with an average age of 7.5 years. The carrier operates a 88 aircraft fleet with an average age of 11.5 years. Airbus Southeast Asia Sales Director, Jean-Jacques Boissin, stated the earliest the manufacturer could delivery the first A350 to Thai Airways would be 2017.
Thai Aiways commences talks with Airbus for more A380s and A350s
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Southeast Asia-US airline market Part 2: at least 7 airlines to offer US nonstop services by 2021
The deployment of new generation ultra-long-range widebody aircraft is prompting several airlines to plan new nonstop services between Southeast Asia and the continental US. New variants of the A350 have particularly emerged as a new, more efficient and popular option for Southeast Asia-US flights, with orders over the past year from three Southeast Asian flag carriers.
On 5-Sep-2016 Vietnam Airlines became the latest Southeast Asian airline to commit to new generation ultra-long-range aircraft capable of new nonstop routes – joining Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Garuda Indonesia and Thai Airways are likely to follow, resulting in four Southeast Asian airlines operating nonstop flights to the US by early next decade, compared with only one currently.
Delta Air Lines may also join United Airlines with nonstop Southeast Asia-US services. There are opportunities in the Southeast Asia-US market for nonstop routes, but competition with one-stop products will be intense. Profitability will be heavily challenged or non-existent. SIA started the trend due to strategic, not financial, imperatives. Under the charm of low fuel prices, Southeast Asian airlines risk falling into the spell of "me too" nonstop flights, just as they did with over-sized aircraft acquisitions.
Hawaiian Airlines: enjoying a revenue premium while preparing for crucial new network development
During the first few years of the decade Hawaiian Airlines undertook a massive network expansion that included the addition of more than 10 long haul routes. With a few minor expansions Hawaiian efforts have been successful, reflected in the airline’s more balanced network that features some of Hawaii’s largest origin markets.
Hawaiian begins taking the next steps to fill gaps within its network in 2017. During the year the airline starts accepting deliveries of Airbus A321neos that allow it to serve smaller secondary markets in North America without degrading the company’s cost performance – which is proving to be a challenge in the short term. Hawaiian believes the aircraft is uniquely qualified to handle some of the operating conditions from the region’s islands to the US mainland.
Hawaiian embarks on 2017 enjoying a significant revenue premium above the US industry and the airline continues to strengthen its revenue management techniques to maximise product offerings, including extra legroom seating and new lie-flat premium seating on its Airbus widebody aircraft. The company is forecasting modest capacity growth for the year of 2% to 5%, the bulk of which is driven by new services to Tokyo launched in 2016.