A widebody purchase for up to thirty aircraft is being discussed by Thai Airways with Airbus and Boeing. On the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Istanbul on Sunday, CEO Chai Eamsiri spoke to Bloomberg.
Additional Airbus A321neo aircraft for low-cost affiliate Thai Smile are also on the airline’s purchasing list. Thai Airways is looking for a widebody agreement with Boeing or Airbus.
The fleet plans come after Thai’s extensive restructuring during the Covid crisis, which included a fleet reduction and a financial sheet reorganization. A long-term strategy has been in the works since the end of last year, and Thai may even contemplate bringing back additional storage airliners to meet demand.
In May, the airline reported that it had 21 aircraft in storage in addition to the 65 aircraft it was operating. Although Thai continues to fly six Boeing 777-200s and seventeen 777-300ERs, it sold six Boeing 777-300s.
The -200 triple sevens, which have an average age of sixteen, will be replaced. The -300ERs are just a little over five years old.
Although it is thought that the A350 is the front-runner in the competition, Thai will formally publish a request for proposals with Boeing and Airbus. Two of the thirteen A350-900s that Thai already operates have been redeployed to the network to serve China and Australia.
From 2026, deliveries of the new aircraft are anticipated.
A320neo family is a potential Thai Smile candidate.
Twenty leased A320ceos, with an average age of approximately ten years, are flown by Thai Smile. A320neo family aircraft could take their place. It is unknown if Thai Airlines prefers to purchase them directly from Airbus, which would necessitate joining the queue given that the A320neo family is completely sold out through 2029. Leasing is a substitute.
According to reports, the chief commercial officers of Airbus and Boeing are both in Istanbul to speak with Thai. Either of the airframers might announce a deal in two weeks at the Paris Airshow if they move quickly.