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Thai Airways wants to order 90 new planes

Airbus A350 Thai Airways

Thai Airways is floating a substantial aircraft order, potentially acquiring up to 90, mostly, widebody planes from Airbus and Boeing as part of a comprehensive fleet renewal strategy, sources familiar with the matter revealed. This,  despite the airline still operating under bankruptcy and the administration of a rehabilitation plan, post Covid-19.

The airline is reportedly exploring the addition of 80 twin-aisle jets with a combination of firm orders, options and purchase rights. Additionally, Thai Airways is said to be finalising an agreement to lease around twelve smaller narrowbody aircraft.

The discussions remain private, and the definitive details of the deal, including the mix of aircraft and final order quantities, are subject to potential changes. An official agreement may materialise in the coming weeks.

Neither Boeing or Airbus have commented about the rumours.

If realised, this significant aircraft order would align with a broader trend in the aviation industry, where airlines are actively renewing their fleets with more modern and fuel-efficient aircraft. Boeing recently secured a substantial order from Emirates at the Dubai Air Show, and Airbus has seen a notable influx of commitments for its A350 model throughout the year.

Thai Airways CEO Chai Eamsiri had previously indicated there were plans to send a formal request for proposals to both Airbus and Boeing, with expectations to receive the new aircraft starting in 2026. At that time, he expressed interest in approximately 30 new widebody jets and additional A321 neos for the regional Thai Smile unit (the Thai Smile brand is currently being re-digested by the parent company, Thai Airways).

The specifics of the current discussions, including the potential involvement of Rolls-Royce as the engine supplier for Airbus aircraft, remain opaque.

Thai Airways, which presently operates about 65 aircraft (down from 103 pre-Covid), continues its court-supervised debt-rehabilitation plan initiated in 2020.

More than 50% of its staff were laid off as part of the extensive overhaul, including the upper executives. On November 10, the airline reported a fourth consecutive quarterly profit, marking a historic achievement. Thai Airways aims to conclude its debt restructuring in the coming year.

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