Thai Airways International is marking the start of a new era in its long-standing relationship with Airbus with an order for three A340-500s and five A340-600s.
The airline first placed an order for the original A300 in 1977 and currently operates a fleet of 21 A300-600s and 12 A330s. Delivery of the newly ordered aircraft are scheduled to begin in 2005.
The A340-500s will bring ‘Smooth as Silk’ levels of service to a completely new network of ultra long-haul services from Bangkok to North America, whilst the A340-600s will replace the aircraft currently operated to secondary cities in Europe. The Rolls-Royce Trent 500 powered A340-500/-600 fleet will bring considerable savings due to lower fuel consumption, better operational efficiency and greater cargo capability.
“The A340-500 ultra long haul aircraft will open up a completely new market for THAI. For the first time, we will be able to offer direct non-stop services between Thailand and the USA and our A340-500 will have a unique configuration giving passengers extra space and comfort on their long flights” said Kanok Abhiradee, President of Thai Airways International.
“This order from THAI again endorses the popularity of the A340 Family, which, with unbeatable operating costs and an outstanding operational capability, enables carriers to open up new very long distance routes or serve point to point destinations in the most efficient way.” said No‘l Forgeard, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer.
The A340-500 and -600 are full-fledged members of the leading A330/A340 Family. The high degree of operational commonality between the A330 and A340 enables pilots to fly either aircraft type with a single licence endorsement.
THAI`s selection of the A340-500/-600 further reinforces the success of the A330/A340 Family as the preferred choice of airlines worldwide in the medium to long-range segment, with almost 800 total orders from 63 customers. The A330/A340 Family has been especially successful in the Asia-Pacific, with 208 orders from 19 airlines, including almost every major international carrier in the region.
A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.