Thai Airways outlines long-term fleet strategy in response to rising competition
Thai Airways plans (11-Mar-2010) to enhance the quality of products and services, including expanding its aircraft fleet, in response to "increased competition over the next five years as well as open skies in Asia and various regions worldwide". Thai’s route network strategy aims to continue developing Bangkok as the main hub by enhancing its schedule for more connectivity and will also increase production on profitable routes that are part of its regional and European network. The carrier’s fleet strategy aims to improve fleet efficiency and reduce emissions by matching production with market demand, while working on fleet simplification in the long-term. Its fleet development plans for the next 10-15 years will be carried out in three phases:
- 2010-2014: Phase-out 25 aircraft, take delivery of nine government-approved aircraft, and acquire 15 aircraft. (The nine government-approved aircraft consist of three A330-300s and six A380-800s). Thai will acquire 15 new aircraft that will be utilised as follows:
- 2015-2019: Phase-out 32 aircraft and acquire new aircraft to replace those phased-out, for future network growth at no less than 38 aircraft;
- 2020-2024: Phase-out 20 aging aircraft and acquire new aircraft to replace those phased-out, for future network growth at no less than 28 aircraft;
- Phased-out aircraft include: six B747-400s, ten A300-600s, four A340-500s, three B737-400s and two ATR-72s. [more]
The carrier is also reportedly considering dry leasing three to six widebody aircraft to operate to European destinations over the next three to five years, while waiting for new aircraft to be delivered (The Nation/Reuters, 12-Mar-2010). Thai stated the move is expected to assist in pushing profits above previous estimates.