Thai Airways considers reviving stored A380s to meet rising demand

Thailand’s flag carrier Thai Airways International is considering expanding its fleet by reviving two Airbus A380 aircraft stored away for years to meet the rising demand for flights.

The airline is “studying closely” the cost-effectiveness of restoring the planes and has not yet committed to a decision, says Airline Commercial Chief Korakot Chatasingha.

“As you know, to bring them…and return them to service, costs a lot of money,” said Korakot at the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Assembly of Presidents in Bangkok.

The airline used to operate a fleet of six A380s which were all grounded when the pandemic put a stop to commercial aviation and Thai Airways was forced to file for bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Court approved a debt restructuring plan for the airline in 2020.

Four of the A380s in the fleet were not owned by the airline but on lease. All four will be returned to lessors. Two of the fleet are owned by Thai Airways but are getting dusty after being grounded for nearly three years.

Getting them back into the air will be costly, but Thai’s financial rehabilitation is reportedly going well. Thai Airways reported today that the airline’s profit increased 583% in the third quarter of 2022 due to an increase in flight frequency.

The report says the revenue has come from increasing flights frequency/introducing new routes to London, Frankfurt, Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Hanoi, Ho Chih Minh, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Dhaka, Densapar, Taipei, Singapore, Copenhagen, Munich, Zurich, Tokyo, and Brussels.

Korakat said the airline will be “reviewing its fleet planning” in 2023 as part of post-pandemic expansion efforts.

In August, Thai Airways sold five stored Airbus A340s which had gone unused for 13 years. The airline sold one A340-500 and four A340-600 aircraft for 350 million baht.

Aviation Source News reports that Thai Airways and AirAsia X are considering creating a presence in Kazakhstan by introducing “fifth-freedom flights.”

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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