THAI ‘negotiating for 80 Boeing Dreamliners’

THAI ‘negotiating for 80 Boeing Dreamliners’

With business recovery ahead of schedule, carrier looks to beef up regional routes

Thai Airways’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is seen at a hangar in September 2017. (Post File Photo)
Thai Airways’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is seen at a hangar in September 2017. (Post File Photo)

Thai Airways International is in advanced talks with Boeing to acquire around 80 wide-body 787 Dreamliner jets as the US planemaker pulls ahead of Airbus in widely watched fleet renewal talks, industry sources say.

Reuters first reported in September that the national carrier was boosting its requirements to as many as 80 wide-body jets and 15 smaller ones, sparking a contest between the 787 and the Airbus A350 for one of the largest recent wide-body orders from Southeast Asia.

Boeing and Airbus declined to comment. THAI did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Currently, THAI and its subsidiaries have 67 active aircraft, comprising 20 narrow-bodied planes and 47 wide-body models.

CEO Chai Eamsiri said in June that the national carrier aimed to finalise a deal to buy 30 wide-body jets and an undisclosed number of narrow-bodies by the end of this year.

Having recorded four consecutive quarters of profit and with its business rehabilitation ahead of schedule, the airline is looking to make the most of a post-pandemic travel boom. Bolstering regional routes is the priority, but there have been concerns over the ability of Airbus and Boeing to ramp up output to meet surging demand from customers worldwide.

THAI currently has 20 Airbus A320 aircraft and has secured a dozen new A321neo jets on lease for delivery in 2025 and 2026.

It also operates a mixed fleet of about 45 larger wide-body jets including the recent Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 and the older Boeing 777 and Airbus A330.

In the short term, the wide-body fleet would increase from 45 to 56 aircraft by the first quarter of next year through leases, Mr Chai told Reuters in June.

Those planes will be used on long-distance intercontinental routes to Australia and Europe, routes that have been recovering strongly.

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