Thailand’s national carrier Thai Airways is set to induct five Airbus A321neo aircraft on lease from mid-2025 onwards and will be seeking another five more.
This means the airline will have 10 A321neo, stated the airline’s CEO Chai Eamsiri, speaking at the IATA AGM in Istanbul, according to flightglobal.com. The airline is eyeing regional and domestic routes to be flown by the A321neos, further complementing the airline’s regional presence.
The airline CEO hopes to receive the narrowbody as soon as possible but understands the difficult situation from OEMs on supply chain issues and backlog orders speaking to the FlightGlobal team.
He further stated that: “We would love to have it by next year, but as you know [the aircraft manufacturers] cannot deliver as their order books are filling up.”
It looks like Thai Airways is also facing the issues that other airlines are facing.
Short Term Solution
As previously observed, the airline is set to take delivery of 11 more A350-900s with 2 already being delivered to the airline as a part of the overall recovery and rehabilitation plan.
The remaining nine aircraft, according to Chai Eamsiri, will arrive in 2024. Though the delivery of the widebodies will not answer the airline’s shift in strategy on operating narrowbody aircraft, this shows the airline is ready to expand further into the regional market with A350s.
Thai Smile Airlines, will also be merged into Thai Airways, meaning that the airline will also induct its 20-odd Airbus A320 to its mainline fleet. These Airbus A320s are also on a contract lease.
The A320s will operate on Thai’s regional and domestic routes, while the A321neos will allow the airline to fly to more secondary and regional cities in the region, especially in Australia, China, and India.
A Good Problem To Have
The aviation industry is always prone to be met with ‘problems’. The Thai airline had a fair share of bad problems way before covid, from mismanagement to inefficiency in the organization, then COVID happened.
The airline’s leading man Mr. Chai Eamsiri acknowledges that the recovery in air travel has been quicker than expected, speaking at the IATA AGM. This means that the airline has reactivated its older aircraft to fill in the surge in travel demand, namely the A330 and the 777-200ER.
Thai Airways is known for its product inconsistency, and fortunately enough the CEO himself took on the comment and has plans to retrofit the old aircraft, but faces the problem of shortage of MRO slots.
The focus is on re-activating the aircraft in time for the ever-growing demand, which is a priority for the airline.
Mr. Chai stated in an interview with Flight Global: “Right now the market is coming back, so you have to grab [the opportunity] first. Otherwise, if you retrofit the aircraft now…it would be [taken out] from service for a while, and we will lose that revenue.”
The inconsistency issue could not be solved in the short run, however, the airline acknowledges the problem and is more focused on capitalizing on the rising demand.