Airbus to send venture proposals

Airbus to send venture proposals

THAI president Sumeth Damrongchaitham
THAI president Sumeth Damrongchaitham

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has been urged to submit related proposals for the formation of a joint venture with Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) by June 7 to develop the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Rayong's U-Tapao airport.

Airbus and THAI signed an agreement to jointly invest in the project in June last year. The two organisations are currently discussing details under the joint venture deal. The 11.2-billion-baht scheme is one of the five megaprojects under the government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) drive.

THAI president Sumeth Damrongchaitham said the EEC policy committee has made it clear that Airbus must submit proposals to THAI for the establishment of the joint venture within a month or by June 7.

He said THAI and Airbus still have various concerns to thrash out. Airbus is about to float certain details for discussion later after the agreement is signed, Mr Sumeth said, adding the concerns range from legal elements to management issues.

Referring to THAI's plan to acquire new planes, which are worth 156 billion baht, Mr Sumeth said the airline is in the process of submitting it to the Transport Ministry for consideration.

He said a study is also being carried out for the lease of two to four aircraft. Expedited efforts will be made to wrap up the study, which will be sent to the airline's board for consideration, he noted.

"The leased planes must be used for at least six years so as to break even," said Mr Sumeth. He said the management would ask the airline's board to approve a new Bangkok-Sendai, Japan flight and the proposal is likely to be given the green light.

The management wants the board to approve the new flight plan as quickly as possible in order to seek a budget and map out a timetable for the flight, which would be launched on Oct 27.


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