Thai Airways International aims to finalise a planned 37-aircraft order "very soon", possibly before the Paris Air Show, with 11 of the aircraft to be narrowbodies operated by its new regional carrier.

"We are looking to decide very, very soon," said Thai's president Piyasvasti Amranand at the IATA 67th annual general meeting. When asked if Thai is likely to finalise the order at the upcoming Paris Air Show, he said: "Hopefully even before that."

Thai has said it is planning a 37-aircraft order, for delivery from 2012 to 2017. Of these, 26 will be widebody aircraft to be used for long-haul routes while the remaining will be narrowbodies.

Amranand said the 26 widebodies will be "new generation" aircraft, adding that the Star Alliance carrier is considering the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350.

"The 11 narrowbodies we plan to order will be for Thai Wing," he added, referring to the working name of the new regional airline that Thai announced recently.

To be wholly owned by Thai, the new airline is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2012, said Amranand.

"We are hoping for the first delivery of the 11 aircraft to be around that time," he added. While reports have indicated that the regional airline will operate a fleet of Boeing 737s, Amranand said Thai is also considering the A320 for the new carrier, which will operate a single aircraft type.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news