As Demand for Thai Airways Increased,Their Fleet Size Could No Longer Keep Up With Their Needs

November 26th, 2022
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As Demand for Thai Airways Increased,Their Fleet Size Could No Longer Keep Up With Their Needs

With Asia-Pacific air travel well and truly alive again, Thai Airways is having a tough time finding new routes. The airline is adding more services so it needs increased capacity, but the financial restraints of its reorganization plan make that a difficult task.

(Thai) Airways is emerging from a period of financial administration, and it’s now operating under tight guidelines from the plan administrator. The Treasurer approved the rehabilitation plan, and the airline has to implement its strategy within these guidelines.

The right size fleet for the times

With a focus on sustainability, Thai Airways has announced the renewal of their fleet of airplanes to include more environmentally-friendly models. The company’s Commercial Director, Chatasingha explained that he wants to be proactive with their fleet management and has plans to start with the right aircraft, the right demand size and the right timing for the demand post COVID.

When THAI Smile connects to the Group’s networks, its Airbus A320-200 aircraft will be included. This is a one-class layout of 168 seats with an average age of nearly nine years old.

He says that, “The airline will have capacity for both international routes and domestic routes. All of our aircraft have been booked, and all of our current customers are very satisfied so that at this stage, we have already optimized our fleet to be 44 in the key market areas.”

“We also have a clear strategy around the narrowbody, specifically focusing our 320s on routes that will offer destinations for domestic flights and regional routes in one to three hours of operation. For example, we’ve used our 320s on our domestic flights from Thailand to Cambodia, Laos and India.”

There are 68×713 = 3762 weekly connections. Most of them (44×713) will be in Asia, followed by ten domestically and eight in Europe. The new network will help the Thai airways to return to around 50% of flight connections from pre-COVID times.

Capacity will determine the amount of recoverable resources

Ramping up services to take advantage of rising demand is straining capacity. Chatasingha mentioned that this means they need to be careful about maintaining the brand excellence of the airline. He touched on the issue of adding more capacity, although that is clearly constrained due because of the guidelines in the approved rehabilitation plan.

What are the available aircraft?

Thais love to fly and the Kingdom boasts some of the fastest growing airlines in Southeast Asia. Thais are renowned for their willingness to purchase new passenger aircraft on a whim, so it’s no surprise that we have 27 inactive aircraft listed in the database. It is hard to imagine that many will return to service, but one thing is for sure: speculation centers around these A380s sitting on the tarmac at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Thai Airways International is considering expanding into North America, but for the time being it’s focusing on Japan and South Korea. At present, Chatasingha said its capacity has been scaled back in China to the point where a restart there is not likely.