Thai Airways International plans to buy at least 46 new aircraft in a 10 year plan to modernise its ageing fleet, Reuters reported, citing airline president Apinan Sumanaseni.
The board of Thailand’s flagship carrier would confirm the details in August, but Apinan said the plan was separate from its purchase of eight Airbus A330- 300 and six A380 superjumbo planes.
“Initially, we need 46 new aircraft to replace aircraft more than 20 years old. We also plan to buy more to support our expansion,” Apinan said. “We have yet to decide what type the 46 new aircraft will be,” he added.
The board approved the purchase of the Airbus A330s and A380s in February. Apinan said at the time that the airline planned to decommission 24 ageing aircraft over the next five years.
In a related development, however, Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board has urged Thai Airways to revise its financial plans before making a final decision on purchasing the A330-300s, the Bangkok Post reported.
Apinan was quoted as saying that the NESDB intended to take at least two weeks to collect more information about the US$1.2-billion purchase. The agency is focusing on THAI’s financial plans as they apply to operating strategies. “
Once the NESDB agrees with both the financial plan and the aircraft purchasing plan, the transport minister will be able to pass the plans to the Cabinet for approval,” Apinan said. “I hope that THAI and the NESDB will be able to finalise the revised financial plan within two weeks.”