THAI switches 2 planes

THAI switches 2 planes

Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) has temporarily substituted two of its Airbus A380 aircraft for Boeing 777-300ERs for two daily routes, acting president Usanee Sangsingkeo says.

She said Tuesday flights TG910 and TG911 on the Bangkok-London return route, and TG676 and TG677, on the Bangkok-Tokyo return route via Narita Airport, will use the 777-300ERs instead of the regular A380s. THAI currently owns six A380 airliners, each of which can offer a maximum passenger capacity of 507 seats. The comparatively smaller 777-300ER models offer 348 seats at most.

Ms Usanee said the two A380s in question are currently in need of replacement Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofan engines, but the supplier has not delivered them in time. "Maintenance for the first plane will be complete by Saturday," she said.

"The remaining plane is due for completion in mid-March." At present, THAI uses Airbus A380 airliners to travel from Bangkok to Frankfurt, Paris and Osaka, with London and Tokyo flights temporarily suspended until maintenance of the planes are complete, Ms Usanee added.

In a separate development, National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Worawit Sookboon said the agency has compiled 80% of evidence concerning bribes which Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc admitted paying THAI staff.

He said the matter was "difficult to assess," as several documents involved in the case are at Rolls-Royce's headquarters, in England.

The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) revealed in January last year that the engineering giant had admitted giving bribes to "agents of the state of Thailand and employees of THAI Airways" to influence purchases of its engine from 1991-2005.

The bribes, reaching upwards of 1.25 billion baht, were reportedly paid to ease THAI's purchasing of three lots of Rolls-Royce Trent 800 turbofan engines.

Meant for the Boeing 777 models, the engines were first produced in 1996, and are still made there today.

Rolls-Royce told the SFO earlier it paid 254 million baht to individuals to help it secure a deal with the government to purchase the engines for six Boeing 777 aircraft and seven Airbus A340 aircraft.

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