THAI denies talk of A380 fleet sell-off

THAI denies talk of A380 fleet sell-off

THAI's first A380 superjumbo rolls out from Airbus' assembly facilities in Toulouse, France, in 2012. Photo courtesy of Airbus
THAI's first A380 superjumbo rolls out from Airbus' assembly facilities in Toulouse, France, in 2012. Photo courtesy of Airbus

Thai Airways International (THAI) will keep its A380 megajets rather than phase them out as speculated.

THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira confirmed the flag carrier will continue to operate its six A380s and there is no plan to ground them or sell them.

The airline deploys these double-decker superjumbos on its four trunk routes, non-stop from Bangkok to London, Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo.

But THAI is definitely not adding more A380s to its fleet, he told the Bangkok Post.

Speculation was rife the airline had been reassessing the role of the A380s in its fleet as part of its on-going rehabilitation.

Between 2013 and June 2015, THAI suffered combined losses of 35.9 billion baht. However, it made a net profit of 6.22 billion baht in 2012, a turnaround from a 10.2 billion loss posted in 2011.

Mr Charamporn said the A380s would make strong business sense if all the 507 seats were filled.

International aviation executives suggested THAI could follow the same path as Malaysia Airlines, which happens to share many fundamental problems with the Thai carrier.

Malaysia Airlines has wanted to dispose of two of its six A380s, while two earmarked for the bankrupt carrier Skymark Airlines, Japan's third-largest airline, have sought new owners.

The world's largest commercial aircraft is considered too large for all but the densest of routes or those with airport slot limitations.

Demand for the A380s was initially strong but Airbus has not found a new airline buyer in nearly three years.

Since its debut a decade ago, Airbus has had over 300 orders for the monster planes, mostly in the passenger versions, as industry analysts said the company has to sell close to 30 a year just to break even.

There were 165 A380s in service for 13 operators as of June this year.

But only Dubai-based Emirates, which has ordered 140 megajets, has made A380s a core part of its fleet.

Despite slow demand, Airbus has made it clear the company has no intention of scrapping the A380s.

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