Thai Airways seeks to expand role in Asia with aircraft order

Thai Airways seeks to expand role in Asia with aircraft order

Thai Airways has outlined ambitious expansion plans following the confirmation it would order 23 Airbus and 14 Boeing airplanes for about $3.9 billion.

As part of a wider modernisation of its fleet, the carrier hopes the acquisitions will enable it to grow profits and takes its place among the top three leading airlines in Asia in terms of quality and service efficiency.

The airline plans to buy six Boeing 777-300ER planes, four Airbus A350-900s and five A320-200s for a total of about $1.6 billion, for delivery between 2014 and 2017.

It will also lease 22 aircraft, including eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners, to be delivered between 2012 and 2017, a company statement said.

Boeing confirmed earlier this year the Dreamliner would be ready for delivery in the third quarter – with Asian rival ANA first in line – following nearly three years of delays.

“Acquiring new aircraft made from lightweight and non-corrosive composite material to replace retiring aircraft will save fuel and maintenance costs,” Thai Airways said in a statement.

The company is bouncing back after a tough spell that saw it sink 21.3 billion baht ($702 million) in the red in 2008 owing to the global financial crisis, high fuel costs and political protests that temporarily shut Bangkok’s airports.

The carrier posted a net profit of 1.6 billion baht in 2010, up more than threefold compared with 2009 as revenue more than doubled.