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Thai lays out aircraft retirement plan

By Hpanchal on July 12, 2011

Thai Airways will decommission 50 planes between this fall and 2017 to make room for previously announced acquisitions.

The new purchases, which were approved by the carrier’s board of directors last month, call for six B777-300ERs and five A320s, which will be delivered starting in 2014. The carrier will also receive four A350s starting in 2015. Thai will also lease eight B787s, eight A350s and 6 A320s, which will be delivered between 2012 and 2017.

The board of directors will vote on the proposed acquisition of 38 additional aircraft, which would deliver between 2018 and 2022, at a later date.

The carrier’s 13 A340-600s are among the first planes to be retired, with the process starting late this year and ending in 2015. Four B747-400s and four A340-500s will be decommissioned in the next two years, with Thai’s nine B737-400s set to go on the chopping block in 2014 and 2015. Thai plans to get rid of two B777-200s and three A330-300s in 2017.

Thai will return five soon-to-be-delivered Boeing 777-300ER aircraft under lease from Jet Airways in 2015 and will see NOK Air take back two leased ATR-72s in 2017. The nine B737-400s Thai plans to give up in 2014 include four leased from NOK.

The Jet Airways planes, which will be under lease for two years, will be delivered later this month. Thai will activate the leased B777-300ERs August 1 on thrice-weekly flights from Bangkok to Madrid.

These proposed changes come amid lackluster operating results. In June, Thai experienced a 5.6-percent year-over-year drop in freight-tonne kilometers. A freight-load factor of 57.9 percent for June represented a 0.2 percent increase over May’s total, but a 10.9 percent year-over-year decrease.

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