Thai's financial turnaround plan impacts on fleet plans

Kuala Lumpur
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Thai Airways International is in the very early stages of looking at ordering narrowbodies, a move that comes as uncertainty increases over its order for six Airbus A380s.

The national carrier has already sought to delay first delivery of its six A380s to early 2011 and its chairman of the executive board, Wallop Bhukkanasut, tells reporters at the IATA AGM in Kuala Lumpur that it may cancel its A380 order.

Thai has incurred some large losses and is about to embark on a financial turnaround plan.

It had earlier been seeking money from the government to aid its recovery but Wallop tells ATIthat Thai has since decided to focus on raising capital from the private sector.

The first task is to roll over the carrier's short-term loans that fall due later this year and then it plans to appoint a financial advisor to help raise capital, says Wallop.

It will raise capital either by issuing bonds or new shares, he says.

While Thai is working to get its finances in order, it is also in the very early stages of looking at a fleet renewal programme for its narrowbodies.

Wallop says it is looking at ordering 10 Airbus A321s or Boeing 737-900s so it can replace some 737-400s.

It is also actively working to sell its ATR 72-200s, Airbus A300-600s, three or four 737-400s "and in a few years some of the Boeing 747s we will need to get rid of", he says.

Thai carrier PB Air is considering buying Thai's two ATR 72-200s, he adds.