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Old April 12th, 2011, 08:44 PM   #721
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THAI aircraft get new seats

Nation 13/04/2011

Thai Airways International yesterday welcomed another A330-300 back to its fold. This is the second of five A330-300s to return from Hamburg, Germany to Bangkok after new economyclass seats were installed by seat manufacturer ZIM Flugsitz.

The aircraft is registered as HSTER, MSN 1060, and has the royally bestowed name of UThong.

"The arrival of this second retrofitted aircraft comes just two weeks after the first retrofitted A330300 arrived in March. We're not only excited about getting the improved products into the fleet, we are excited for our customers who can enjoy improved products," THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand said.

The new seats have a 32inch pitch, 18inch width and nineinch personal screen featuring 100 movie selections. THAI plans to operate the A330-300, with business and economy class offerings, mainly on regional routes.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 09:32 PM   #722
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THAI approves more fuel surcharge increases

Published: 13/04/2011 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International (THAI) is increasing fuel surcharges on international flights starting on Monday in order to reflect soaring fuel prices.

The flag carrier is among several international carriers passing on fuel costs to consumers as jet fuel prices reached a fresh high of US$142 a barrel on the Singapore spot market on Monday.

THAI passengers will pay an extra $5.50 to $38 per flight sector, depending on the distance, on top on the surcharges imposed since Feb 17, said THAI.

The fuel surcharge on THAI's domestic routes remains unchanged because it wants to compete with low-cost carriers.

Flights to Australia and New Zealand will have a surcharge increase of $5.50 to $31 per sector.

But rates on other intercontinental services, including the US, Europe and South Africa, will rise by $31 and $38 a sector, effective May 2.

For instance, the total surcharge on a one-way flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles will reach $200, up from $162 currently, while the surcharge on all of THAI's European flights, such as Bangkok-London, goes up to $166 from $135.

Flights from Bangkok to Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane rise to $122 per leg from $99, while routes to Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur increase to $44.50 from $37. Fuel's contribution to the overall cost of full-service airlines like THAI has risen to about 40% from the industry norm of 30%

There is no sign oil prices will stop rising, and airlines have no choice but to pass on the additional cost to consumers, airline executives noted.

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Old April 20th, 2011, 07:48 AM   #723
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THAI jet request on agenda

Published: 20/04/2011 at 12:00 AM

The Transport Ministry will ask the cabinet today to approve the plan by Thai Airways International Plc to acquire 75 new aircraft worth 457.12 billion baht over the next 10 years in order to increase its business potential.

The national carrier plans to acquire 37 aircraft in the first phase between 2011 and 2017 with a budget of 210.6 billion baht, plus spare engines worth 5.47 billion baht, for a total of 216 billion.

In the second phase, another 38 aircraft are to be acquired from 2018-22 with a budget of 229 billion baht, plus spare engines worth 11.98 billion baht for a total budget of 241.05 billion.

The THAI board of directors already approved the fleet expansion based on the airline's plan to develop new routes and add capacity on existing ones with high potential, in preparation for the growth of the aviation industry. Replacing old planes with more efficient models will also reduce maintenance costs.

The ministry cited forecasts from the International Air Transport Association of an average increase of passengers at 5.3% a year and cargo growth of 6.4%.

THAI forecast foreign passengers will grow at an average of 5.3% a year from 2011-17 and 4.4% a year from 2018-22, with domestic passenger growth at 4.2% and 3.4% a year over the same periods.

The ministry will later seek a cabinet decision on how many of the aircraft should be purchased and leased.

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Old April 25th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #724
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AOT seeks to make DM profitable

THE NATION Published on April 25, 2011

Airports of Thailand (AOT) plans to maximise utilisation of Don Mueang International Airport by encouraging more commercial enterprises to rent space.

AOT hopes the plan can help it turn around annual losses of Bt1 billion within three to five years.

If the plan succeeds, Don Muang will become an attractive business and commercial area, including an aircraft maintenance centre, exhibition hall, conference centre, free-trade zone, logistics centre and private-jet terminal.

It will also provide a diverted-flight landing service for planes that need to perform emergency landings.

"As the landlord, AOT needs no investment; it will come at the cost of the tenants," said Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, senior executive vice president for business development and marketing at AOT.

Nitinai added that some AOT projects were ahead of schedule, meaning the organisation could achieve the business goal within three years, ahead of the originally projected target of 2015.

Receiving approval by Cabinet in 2009, AOT's five-year plan focuses on commercialising Don Mueang to maximise utilisation of its space through six projects. According to the study, AOT has to complete all the projects by the end of 2015.

It should allow the company to turn around annual losses of Bt1 billion. They have already fallen to an average of Bt700 million because of the growing domestic services of low-cost carrier Nok Air.

In the latest move, AOT has launched a "diverted flight" landing service to take flights that cannot land at Suvarnabhumi Airport or need to perform an emergency landing due to bad weather, natural disasters or political turmoil.

This operation is serving an average of two flights a week and has previously reached five in one week. The airport also serves military charter flights from Singapore.

Don Mueang will also serve as a second airport in case of the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport due to political turmoil or for other reasons.

Nitinai said some interesting companies had also approached AOT to set up businesses at Don Muang. For instance, Thai Airways International plans to cooperate with US-based Boeing to manage aircraft spare parts for airlines in the region. It is hoped this will help Thailand become a regional maintenance hub.

AOT is leasing some space at Don Mueang to MJets, a private-jet charter-service operator, which is managing a private-jet terminal.

AOT plans to move all domestic flight operations from terminal II to terminal I by this July or August to facilitate its business zoning plan. The movement will allow the renovation of the properties.

Half of the space between pier 3 and pier 5 is planned to house a small-aircraft maintenance service. Between pier 5 and pier 6 there will be a large-aircraft maintenance centre.

In addition the domestic cargo buildings will house a 25,000-square-metre exhibition centre together with 1,000 car parking lots, a logistics centre and a free-trade zone.

All the plans have to be finished by 2015 as the government plans to have a single airport by that time.

"Success of the plan will increase AOT's profit by Bt1 billion per year," said Nitinai, saying the company hopes to finish the business plan before schedule.

The company has already submitted a request to the Customs Department to set up the free-trade area.

Nitinai added that Don Mueang was fully equipped and had capacity left over, unlike other airports in the region

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Old May 3rd, 2011, 01:11 PM   #725
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Kan Air plans new Satun airport

Published: 3/05/2011 at 12:00 AM

Kan Air, a new startup airline that took to the local skies last February, hopes to build an airport and acquire three more aircraft.

The Thai-owned carrier wants two Airbus A318s or A319s and a second Cessna Grand Caravan 208B prop-driven plane while also looking for land to develop an airport in the southern province of Satun.

President Somphong Sooksanguan is bullish about the growth potential of the new airline, built from the fortune he made from Kannithi Co Ltd. That company was founded in 2005 to provide debt management services and litigation in hire-purchase cases, mostly involving cars.

Mr Somphong is negotiating for 800 rai of land in Tha Phae district of Satun to build an airport, which initially will have a runway 1,100 metres long and 45 metres wide, before extending the length to 2,100 metres later to accommodate jets.

The airport will cost 400 million baht, with half of that land acquisition.

Construction should start this year, meaning it could become operational as soon as next year, as he is eager to tap tourism opportunities in Satun, home to popular islands such as Koh Tarutao.

Additional airplanes would be a huge boost to capacity, as it operates only a single-engine turboprop with 14 seats on five interprovincial routes out of its base in Chiang Mai.

Mr Somphong said the airline was looking at either buying or leasing the two Airbus jets, which could be deployed next year, while the Cessna should be available later this year.

The twin-engine Airbus, capable of carrying 120-130 passengers and costing US$45 million if bought new, would serve Kan Air's domestic network and Laos.

The second Cessna would allow the airline to start new routes in the South such as Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Betong.

The airline may opt to buy a used Cessna rather than a new one, which would cost more than 60 million baht, to ensure early delivery.

Mr Somphong, a 34-year-old native of Phatthalung, said the market response to Kan Air's initial routes was encouraging.

Kan Air offers flights from Chiang Mai to Pai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Nan and Mae Sot.

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Old May 12th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #726
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Old May 15th, 2011, 08:40 PM   #727
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Fuel, forex losses drag down THAI

Published: 14/05/2011 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International said its first-quarter net profit plunged 94% from a year earlier as it was hit hard by spiking fuel prices and foreign-exchange losses.

Net earnings for the January-March period were 618.46 million baht (0.28 baht a share) versus 10.57 billion (6.22 baht a share) in the first quarter of last year, the flag carrier said in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

Kaweepan Raungpaka, THAI executive vice-president for finance, said jet fuel prices in the quarter were 33.5% higher than in the same period last year, a major contributor to the 7.5% rise in total expenses of 47.74 billion baht.

The weakening baht against the euro also caused a foreign-exchange loss of 3.36 billion baht, against a gain of 5.69 billion a year ago.

Gains from the economic recovery for the airline were diminished by natural disasters, political unrest in parts of the world and the disaster in Japan.

THAI also faced competitive pressure in terms of raising its fuel surcharge to offset high fuel prices.

First-quarter revenues rose 4.1% year-on-year to 51.85 billion baht.

The outlook for the second quarter looks weak due to lower seasonal travel demand, but analysts said the airline should fare better than in the second quarter of last year, when political unrest scared off travellers, leading to a loss for THAI of 3.18 billion baht.

As well, analysts said, heavy fuel hedging should help THAI contain the damage from rising fuel prices.

THAI shares closed yesterday on the SET at 39 baht, down 75 satang.

In a related development, Airports of Thailand Plc said net profit in its fiscal second quarter ending March 31 declined slightly to 1.71 billion baht from 1.77 billion a year earlier. Six-month net profit was 2.39 billion baht (1.68 baht a share), compared with 2.57 billion (1.80 baht a share) in the same period last year.

Operating revenue in the quarter improved 13.76% year-on-year to 7.82 billion baht but operating expenses rose 12.8% to 5.17 billion, the company said.

AOT shares closed unchanged at 36.50 baht, in trade worth 87.19 million baht.

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Old May 20th, 2011, 10:37 PM   #728
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THAI to launch own low costairline next year

The Nation Published on May 21, 2011

Thai Airways International (THAI) will operฌate a new super lowcost airline next year, aimed at beating back the challenge from budget carriers and reclaiming passengers back to the national airline.

The announcement comes after the board of directors allowed Ampon Kittiampon to continue as chairman for another threeyear term.

The move is seen as an attempt by the THAI management to pave the way for having its own super lowcost airline despite signing an agreement with Singaporebased Tiger Airways last year to establish a joint venture budget airline. The joint venture, Thai Tiger Airways, is expected to start services this month.

Ampon Kittiampon, chairman of the board of directors, said the board yesterday approved a plan to establish a new lowcost airline as part of its 12year business plan.

The airline has already extended its agreement with Tiger Airways for another three months, from June to August this year, to continue the project.

The agreement extension is to avoid a possible suit by Tiger Airways for violation of the contract.

Ampon said the company would set up a new business unit to run the new lowcost airline. The company plans to start the service in March or April next year.

The new airline can be run without approval from the Ministry of Transport or the Cabinet as it is wholly owned by THAI.

According to sources, some in the internal management want to call the new airline Thai Wings or Thai Silk.

He said the new airline would position itself in the lowest segment, similar to lowcost airlines operating in the market.

"At the moment, THAI maintains its plan to run both Thai Tiger Airways and Thai Wings. However, THAI should keep only the best one in the future," he said.

Thai Wings will operate in the domestic market and regional destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thai Airways will remain a premium airฌine, Thai Tiger Airways will focus on regional markets and Thai Wings will be a lowcost airline. THAI will use retired pilots for the airฌline and will source cabin crew and staffs from outsource company Wind Span Co - like most other lowcost carriers.

THAI president Piyasvasti Amrannand will head the unit and a new management will take over later.

THAI will utilise its five Boeing 737s, and rent two narrowbodied aircraft for the first year of operations. The new carrier will need 11 aircraft. Each of the aircraft will feature up to 99percent economy class seats, with no business or first class.

Ampon said the company would break even within the first year of operation as the cost is not very high. It expects to achieve a 7080 per cent load factor in the first year.

He added that Nok Air, THAI's lowcost subsidiary, would continue its services.

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Old May 26th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #729
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THAI plans new Euro destinations

By The Nation Published on May 27, 2011

Thai Airways International (THAI) is planning to add more destinations in Europe in a move to increase revenue as it gets ready to receive 23 new planes by 2013.

Airline president Piyasvasti Amrannand said the company was eyeing four to five new destinations including Brussels and Vienna.

The expansion into Europe is among the airline's strategies to increase income.

Of the 23 new aircraft, nine Airbus A330-300s are scheduled to be delivered in June and July this year and seven more before April 2013.

In addition, six Airbus A380 jumbos will join the fleet between August 2012 and October 2013. The airline is also scheduled to receive eight Boeing 777-300s during the same period.

Piyasvasti said the aviation sector was currently highly competitive. The major factor was the fast growth of airlines in the Middle East.

Countries in the Middle East are well capitalised so they can make huge orders of new aircraft at one time.

Although soaring oil prices affect all players, including Arabian carriers, those airlines can more easily deal with the issue.

"The growth of airlines in the Middle East disturbs THAI's revenue from the international market, while domestic share is stolen by lowcost airlines," he said.

The company has revised its business strategies to cope with the changes.

For example, it has set up a superlowcost airline, Thai Wings, wholly owned by THAI.

Earlier, THAI announced a joint venture with Singaporebased Tiger Airways to run Thai Tiger Airways.

"Still, Thai Tiger Airways has not yet formed so we created Thai Wings, which will operate in the second quarter next year," said Piyasvasti.

Thai Wings will operate both domestically and around the region.

According to Piyasvasti, results in the second quarter this year were not good - as expected - due to rising oil prices and the crisis in Japan.

However, the airline hopes passenger numbers on Japan routes will recover soon.

In April, the airline adjusted fuel surcharges in a move to cope with the hike in oil prices.

Currently, jet oil costs US$125 to $128 (Bt3,800 to Bt3,900) per barrel.

The airline will not change fuel surcharges again if oil prices do not rise, said Piyasvasti.

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Old May 30th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #730
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THAI fears falling behind in race for lowcost market

The Nation Published on May 31, 2011

Nearly 50 lowcost airlines, including Thai Wings and Thai Tiger Airways, are preparing to enter Thailand's aviation sector to cash in on this growing market segment in the region.

Piyasvasti Amramnand, president of Thai Airways International, said some lowcost airlines had already received permission from the Department of Civil Aviation to operate in Thailand. The rest are in the process or in the planning stages.

He said lowcost airlines from India were likely to become big players in the Thai market soon.

India is one of the fastestgrowing markets for Thai tourism. The market for business travel as well as niche markets such as weddings are expected to continue to grow over the next decade.

Other lowcost carriers based in East and Southeast Asia are also eyeing the Thai market, Piyasvasti said. One of these is a new lowcost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, which will focus on longhaul routes and supplement the existing lowcost unit Silk Air.

The new Singapore Airlines unit is to compete directly with AirAsia X, which operates from Kuala Lumpur to Japan, China, the Middle East, Australia and Britain.

Moreover, Japanese operator All Nippon Airways has created a new budget carrier called Peach, which was launched in the Japanese market last week. Peach was conceived last year at the same time as THAI made plans to enter a joint venture with Tiger Airways to operate Thai Tiger Airways.

Piyasvasti said many countries had created new budget airlines easily, but the Thai government had seemed reluctant to support THAI pursuing new business.

"The Thai Tiger Airways project is stuck at the Transport Ministry. Meanwhile the new Thai Wings unit is still waiting for new aircraft. THAI has lost passengers to budget airlines. Our market share is also being stolen by premium airlines, especially from the Middle East region," Piyasvasti said.

The lowcostairline market in Thailand grew from 2 per cent seven years ago to 17 per cent this year, with approximate market capital of Bt5 billion. THAI's market share in the lowcost segment dropped from 47 per cent in 2005 to 36 per cent this year. Mostly of that business went to AirAsia Group. THAI used to post Bt15 billion in revenue from the domestic market but now it has been reduced to just Bt10 billion.

THAI still plans to operate two lowcost airlines. Thai Tiger Airways, its joint venture with Singaporebased Tiger Airways, will serve the market between THAI and Thai Silk and will target domestic and regional passengers. However, it has yet to get off the ground.

THAI also plans to launch Thai Wings in the second quar?ter of next year. It will operate two narrowbodies planes in its first year and is set to focus on the superlowcost segment. It will link Bangkok with Rangoon, Ho Chi Minh City and Vientiane, as well as Ubon Ratchathani province.

"As a big airline, THAI needs to create subbrands to serve different markets. THAI is going to tap the premium market, Thai Wings will be in the superlowcost market and Thai Tiger Airways will be in the middle," he said.

According a source in the lowcostairline industry, THAI is one of most recognised airlines in the world, especially in premium markets. It earns revenue of more than Bt200 billion per year and enjoys billions in profit annually.

Being one of the top players, THAI should consider competing with similar operators such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Etihad, Emirates and Air France, the source said.

Given the relatively small size of the budget market, it would be smarter if the airline maintained its strength in the premium market, the source said.

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Old June 9th, 2011, 08:43 PM   #731
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Old June 13th, 2011, 08:59 PM   #732
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Bangkok Airways takes off for Bangalore

Published: 9/06/2011 at 12:00 AM

Bangkok Airways will take another step into India's substantial air travel market with the introduction of service between Bangkok and Bangalore from September.

Bangalore, known as the Silicon Valley of India due to its role as the country's leading IT exporter, will be the second Indian city served by the privately-owned Thai carrier.

The inauguration will be the second prong in Bangkok Airways' foray into the Indian subcontinent after starting its Mumbai service on March 2.

Looming large on its radar screen is Chennai, with Delhi eventually planned as India becomes more of a priority market in the airline's growth strategy formulated late last year.

On March 27, the carrier also started service between Bangkok and Dhaka, with seven flights a week to the Bangladeshi capital on Airbus A319 and A320 jetliners.

Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, the president of Bangkok Airways, said with the rights and time slots recently secured from the Indian authorities, the Bangalore flights will start on September 26 using A319s, a twin-engine narrow-body jet with 138 seats in only one class, economy.

The airline will initially offer five flights a week on the Bangkok-Bangalore route before ramping up to daily in December after taking delivery of an additional A319, the airline's seventh jet and 18th aircraft.

Bangkok Airways plans to capture the growing business traffic on this route, competing with Thai Airways International, which already operates the sector along with one or two Indian airlines.

Given the good response to the route, the carrier on Tuesday increased its Bangkok-Mumbai service to daily flights, Mr Puttipong told the Bangkok Post.

It has also agreed to raise its frequency on the Bangkok-Maldives route to four flights a week from three now, starting on October 30.

Domestic trunk routes will be stepped up including Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Phuket and Chiang Mai-Koh Samui for a cool-season promotion starting at the end of October.

Meanwhile, two Indian no-frills carriers - SpiceJet and IndiGo - recently met with Thailand's Civil Aviation Department on their plans to start their own flights between the two countries.

A senior department official said both airlines, which will compete head-on with Thai AirAsia, the sole low-cost carrier operating between Thailand and India, are expected to kick off regular service this year.

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Old June 14th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #733
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THAI to get new planes

Bangkok (AFP) - Thai Airways International announced Monday that it would acquire 23 Airbus and 14 Boeing passenger and cargo airplanes for about US$3.9 billion to modernise its ageing fleet.

The carrier said the deals, which have been approved by its board of directors, would enable it to grow profits and be among the top three leading airlines in Asia in terms of quality and service efficiency.

The airline plans to buy six Boeing 777-300ER planes, four Airbus A350-900s and five A320-200s for a total of about $1.6 billion, for delivery between 2014 and 2017.

It will also lease 22 aircraft, including eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners, to be delivered between 2012 and 2017, a company statement said.

"Acquiring new aircraft made from lightweight and non-corrosive composite material to replace retiring aircraft will save fuel and maintenance costs," it added.

Currently the Thai carrier operates a mix of Airbus and Boeing planes, including some ageing 747 jumbos.

The launch of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, heralded as a new generation of highly fuel-efficient mid-sized aircraft, has been repeatedly delayed due to a string of technical mishaps.

Delivery of the first planes is now scheduled for the third quarter of 2011.

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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:11 PM   #734
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THAI poised to make fleet wide-body only Fleet changes pave way for Thai Wings

Published: 20/06/2011 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International (THAI) will operate only large-capacity wide-body aircraft under its current plan as it phases out single-aisle narrow-body jets from its fleet.

The plan comes in the light of the flag carrier's move to turn over its domestic flights operated by narrow-body jets to its proposed sister carrier, tentatively known as Thai Wings.

In other words, Thai Wings would take over domestic point-to-point and secondary routes now served by THAI's Boeing 737-400s, which will be retired once the new airline is up and running, sources at THAI said.

The creation of Thai Wings would diminish the role of THAI's domestic air services though the mother bird is set to continue to operate on certain domestic heavy-traffic trunk routes, such as Bangkok-Phuket and Bankok-Chiang Mai, using wide-body jets and with fewer frequencies.

That strategic plan is mainly geared toward allowing THAI to transfer its international passenger traffic to those local destinations seamlessly, sources said.

That shift would ensure a market for Thai Wings to conduct business while THAI will then concentrate almost entirely on international operation, which now represents about 80% of its business in terms of revenue.

THAI now operates six Boeing B737-400s and is due to have the other three B737-400s leased to its budget carrier Nok Air back starting next year.

The current five-year plan calls for THAI to phase out all of the "classic" single-aisle US-made jets with about 150 seats from its own fleet over a given time that has not yet been clearly spelled out.

THAI is counting on Thai Wings to reclaim lost business, especially on domestic and international routes with a 2-3 hour flying range, from no-frills carriers such as AirAsia.

It will dedicate all of the 11 brand-new Airbus A320s, single-aisle twin-engine jets it is acquiring to the new airline that will be operated as a business unit under THAI's umbrella.

The 11 A320s are part of the acquisition of 37 jets worth 118.6 billion baht, which THAI's board approved on June 11 as part of its major fleet renewal programme.

Six of the 11 A320s are to be acquired by leasing between 2012 and 2013 to ensure quick deliveries to enable Thai Wings to get off the ground hopefully by May or June next year.

The other five A320s will be purchased from the European planemaker Airbus for delivery between 2014 and 2015 as Thai Wings expands its fleet to achieve higher economies of scale.

The A320 acquisition plan was finalised in spite of hurdles erected by the Transport Ministry which said it still needed to scrutinise the plan to establish Thai Wings.

The ministry, whose senior officials have been at odds with THAI management, particularly its outspoken president Piyasvasti Amranand, has been raising technical issues, such as the identity and status of the new sister airline, for not giving clearance.

The ministry has already strongly objected to THAI's earlier plan to enter a 51:49 joint venture with the Singapore-based low-cost carrier Tiger Airways to set up an "ultra low-cost carrier" to be called Thai Tiger Airways in Thailand.

The Transport Ministry maintains the business plan has not met requirements. Caretaker minister Sohpon Zarum has also raised questions about the foreign ownership of the venture, which now looks almost certain to go astray.

According to THAI management, Thai Wings would operate as a full service airline with "budget" fares, positioning itself between THAI and Nok Air.

The services include the provision of inflight meals and beverages, baggage allowances of up to 20 kilogrammes (similar to THAI's), assigned seats and booking changes without penalty fees.

Aside from domestic routes that would account for less than half of its business, destinations in neighbouring countries such as Brunei, Medan, Penang, Danang and Amritsar are on Thai Wings' radar screen.

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Old June 27th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #735
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THAI to start direct Brussels flights

By The Nation Published on June 28, 2011

Thai Airways International will start three weekly flights to Brussels on November 17, becoming the only Southeast Asian carrier to fly directly flight to the Belgian capital.

As the centre of several organisations and close to major cities in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France, Brussels is expected to generate strong traffic from business and leisure travellers.

Brussels is THAI's 72nd destination.

THAI will use Boeing 777-200ER aircraft on the route, which can carry 292 passengers, with 30 seats in Royal Silk Class and 262 seats in economy class. Seats in all classes are equipped with personal screens and the latest in-flight entertainment systems.

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Old June 29th, 2011, 12:05 PM   #736
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THAI cancels one cargo freighter

Published: 29/06/2011 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International (THAI) has resolved to terminate the service of one of the two dedicated cargo planes operated on its behalf by the US carrier Southern Air ahead of the contractual term.

The decision reflects the global cargo traffic slowdown caused by a decelerating world economy, fierce competition from the influx of additional freighters and meagre operating margins that have hurt the flag carrier.

Pichai Chunganuwad, managing director of THAI's cargo and commercial mail department, admitted the move was to stem losses and could be widened in the future.

THAI will end its block space purchase (BSP) contract for one plane on Aug 1. The BSP contract for both planes was for two years ending in March 2012.

A penalty fee of US$8.8 million will be imposed on THAI for premature service cancellation, said Mr Pichai. Earlier, Southern Air had insisted on THAI paying the full service fees based on the two-year term regardless of whether it wanted to use the service. THAI will continue to retain the services of the other cargo plane.

"The problem is not finding enough loads to carry, but the yields are too poor to sustain a good business," Mr Pichai explained.

The Japanese disaster, high oil prices, a glut in capacity and low-season demand have hampered air cargo operators.

"Worse still, operators cannot raise charges to offset the rising costs, particularly fuel," he added.

For the first half of this year, the airline handled 60,000 tonnes of cargo a month, about the same as last year, while recording a load factor of 58%, lower than the same period last year when global air cargo movement was buoyant, driven by the economic recovery.

THAI's board in March opted to convert two of its aging passenger jumbo jets into dedicated freighters to support its air cargo business, choosing not to extend the contract with Southern Air.

THAI is spending $56 million to convert two Boeing 747-400 planes that have been in service for 15-20 years and are due for retirement soon into cargo planes. Each will carry just over 100 tonnes of goods, about the same as Southern Air's B777-200 LRF jets, the world's largest twin-engine freighter, over a distance from Bangkok to Frankfurt non-stop.

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Old July 1st, 2011, 09:54 PM   #737
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THAI launches Phuket-Copenhagen direct flights

By The Nation Published on July 1, 2011

Thai Airways International launches direct flights from Copenhagen to Phuket as well as additional flights from Bangkok to Copenhagen.

Flights on these sectors will operate three times per week respectively, utilizing the Boeing 747-400 aircraft, with service commencing on November 11. These flights may be reserved immediately.

Pandit Chanapai, THAI Executive Vice President of Commercial, said "THAI is pleased to offer the first-ever direct flights from Copenhagen to Phuket giving passengers more choices and making it easier than ever to travel from Scandinavia straight into Phuket."

THAI's flight TG953 is a 10-hour, 35-minute flight, departing Copenhagen on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 8.45pm and arriving in Phuket at 1.20pm the following day. On the return, passengers may take any of THAI's daily flights from Phuket to Bangkok and connect on flights to Copenhagen.

THAI will operate three additional flights per week on the route Bangkok to Copenhagen, with flight TG952 departing Bangkok on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 13.00 hours and arriving in Copenhagen on the same day at 18.45 hours.

THAI already operates daily flights on the routes Bangkok-Copenhagen utilising the Boeing 747-400 and also offers several flights per day on the route Bangkok-Phuket.

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Old July 4th, 2011, 09:36 PM   #738
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Thai route a winner for Cathay Pacific

Published: 4/07/2011 at 12:00 AM

Cathay Pacific Airways did brisk business on its flights through Thailand in the first five months of this year despite setbacks such as the Japanese disaster.

Maggie Yeung, country manager for Hong Kong's flag carrier, said the January-May load factor was 85%, up from 74% in the same period last year.

She said the figure was high for a foreign airline in Thailand but stressed that market share was not a big priority. "Instead, we're working toward improving revenue quality," she said.

Ms Yeung was referring in particular to the Bangkok-Hong Kong route, on which the carrier has a 33% market share and competes aggressively against Thai Airways International, the sector leader.

Cathay also remains unscathed by growing competition from legacy and low-cost carriers on the route, she said.

Dubai-based Emirates operates the A380 superjumbo jet, still a novelty, on the route, while no-frills Thai AirAsia specialises in low fares, said Ms Yeung.

She said those airlines had in fact helped to expand the market base.

Cathay is a major player in Thailand, operating 59 flights a week on seven routes directly out of the country.

From Bangkok, it flies to Singapore, Bombay, Delhi, Colombo, Karachi and Hong Kong, while affiliate Dragonair operates non-stop between Phuket and Hong Kong. Cathay operates five flights a day between Bangkok and Hong Kong, while Dragonair offers 10 a week from Phuket to Hong Kong.

Ms Yeung said that while Cathay was concerned about high fuel prices and softening cargo demand, it had a positive business outlook for the rest of the year.

It has no immediate plans to change flight frequencies through Thailand, she said, adding that more customised promotions were planned for both business and leisure travellers.

These include Smart Saver special fares to Asian and European destinations including a "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" package for Hong Kong Disneyland.

"And in line with the increasing number of Thai passengers, we recently added new recruits to our Bangkok-based cabin crew teams," she added.

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Old July 6th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #739
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THAI picks four firms for leases of 22 jets

Published: 6/07/2011 at 12:00 AM

Four global aircraft leasing firms are involved in providing 22 jets, mostly new-generation wide-body aircraft, to meet the immediate needs of Thai Airways International in its fleet renewal.

Los Angeles-based International lease Finance Corp (ILFC), the world's largest aircraft lessor by value, secured the most deals from the flag carrier.

Also chosen by THAI were Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Company (Alafco), US-based CIT Aerospace International (CIT) and RBS Aerospace Ltd (RBSAL) of Ireland, according to an airline executive.

All the deals carry the standard 12-year leasing term with the earliest delivery next year and the last in 2017.

The accord calls for ILFC to lease six Boeing B787-8s to THAI between 2014 and 2015, and two B787-9s in 2017.

Other deliveries of leased aircraft are:

- Six Airbus A350-900s from Alafco in 2017;

- Two A350-900s from CIT in 2016;

- Six A320-200s from RBSAL between 2012 and 2013.

The flag carrier has opted to lease these aircraft largely because they will not be available sooner from the manufacturers, which have long order backlogs for these popular new age commercial airliners.

THAI has also agreed to purchase 15 other aircraft, part of the total of 37 brand-new jets it will acquire over the next six years directly from Airbus and Boeing due to their availability in the timeframe required by the airline. The purchases include:

- Six B777-300ERs from Boeing for delivery between 2014 and 2015;

- Four A350-900s from Airbus for delivery between 2016 and 2017;

- Five A320-200s from Airbus for delivery between 2014 and 2015.

The total value of the aircraft acquisitions is 118.6 billion baht, including 49.53 billion baht for the purchases and 69.06 billion baht for the leases.

THAI shares closed yesterday on the SET at 30 baht, unchanged, in trade worth 362.83 million baht.

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Old July 8th, 2011, 02:29 AM   #740
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Thai ranked 5th best airline in the world
Thai Airways International (THAI) placed 5th worldwide in the World’s Best Airlines category at the 2011 Skytrax World Airline Awards, moving up from 9th place last year. In addition, THAI also won titles for Best Economy Class Cabin Seats and Best Economy Class Onboard Catering.

“In just one year, THAI excelled by four places to be voted among the top five airlines in the world,” said Mr. Sutsveta Svetasobhana, THAI’s General Manager of USA, Central and South America. He added, “We are honored and are eager to provide our passengers the best airline experience with our exceptional products and services.”

In recent years, THAI has implemented several retrofitting projects to improve the airline’s global competitiveness and increase customer satisfaction. In a significant effort to raise its standards, THAI is acquiring modern, efficient airplanes made of lightweight and non-corrosive composite material, which will decrease fuel and maintenance costs. The new aircrafts will have a minimal environmental impact due to low carbon emissions.

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