Thai Airways International is set to order six Airbus A380s and eight other widebodies from Airbus and Boeing after the carrier's board approved a major fleet expansion.

Board approval for the 14-aircraft fleet expansion was secured on 28 July and Thai says it will cover its 2005-6 to 2009-10 financial years that begin every 1 October.

The airline does not specify aircraft types, saying only that it plans to acquire six long-range ultra-large aircraft seating 500 passengers, seven "long-range medium-size" aircraft and one "super-long-range medium-size aircraft".

Thai has been considering an A380 order for a while and the board's endorsement allows it to formally consider a commitment for six of the type, which it plans to operate mainly to points in Europe such as Frankfurt and London.

The "long-range medium-size" aircraft it plans to order are expected to be Boeing 777-200ERs, primarily for services to Europe. Thai already operates 777s on routes within Asia-Pacific.

The one "super-long-range medium-size aircraft" is likely to be an A340-500. Thai already holds orders for three A340-500s and five -600s, all of which will be delivered next year. Its A340-500s will be used for the first non-stop services between Bangkok and the USA, while the larger -600s are intended mainly for European routes.



Source: Flight International