Thai Airways announces $3.9 bln Airbus, Boeing orders

BANGKOK, June 13, 2011 (AFP) - Thai Airways announced Monday that it would acquire 23 Airbus and 14 Boeing passenger and cargo airplanes for about $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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