Thai to acquire eight 787s and 12 A350s in 37-aircraft deal

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Thai Airways International will acquire eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A350s as part of a 37-aircraft acquisition worth Thai baht (Bt) 119 billion ($3.89 billion).

The Star Alliance carrier's board approved the planned acquisition today, said the airline, adding that it will proceed to acquire the aircraft immediately.

Thai plans to purchase 15 aircraft and acquire the remaining 22 on operating leases. It will purchase six Boeing 777-300ERs, to be delivered in 2014 and 2015, four Airbus A350-900s (2016 and 2017) and five Airbus A320-200s (2014 and 2015).

It also plans to acquire six 787-8s and two 787-9s from US lessor International Lease Finance (ILFC) on operating leases. The -8s will be delivered in 2014 and 2015, while the -9s will be delivered in 2017.

In addition, Thai will lease six A350-900s from Aviation Lease and Finance, to be delivered in 2017, and two A350-900s from CIT Aerospace International, which will deliver the aircraft in 2016. The airline will also lease six A320-200s from RBS Aerospace International, to be delivered in 2012 and 2013.

All the operating leases have terms of 12 years each, said Thai.

The 15-aircraft purchase is estimated to cost Bt49.5 billion, while the aircraft leases are worth Bt69.1 billion, it added.

Thai said the new aircraft acquisition would help it develop a modern, efficient and safe fleet. "In addition, acquiring new aircraft which are made from lightweight and non-corrosive composite materials to replace retiring aircraft will save fuel and maintenance cost," it added.