July 11, 2018 / 5:56 AM / a month ago

Thai Airways to buy 23 new jets worth around $3 billion

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Airways International Pcl plans to purchase 23 new aircraft worth about 100 billion baht ($3 billion) to replace decommissioned ones, the country’s transport minister told reporters on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Thai Airways aircraft are parked on the tarmac at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

The purchase, subject to cabinet approval expected later this year, was part of the state-owned national carrier’s five-year plan from 2018-2023, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.

Thai Airways expects to make an order of 13 widebody aircraft and 10 narrowbody aircraft within this year, the airline’s acting president, Usanee Sangsingkeo, told reporters.

Research firm Centre for Aviation reported in June that Thai Airways was likely to order 20 jets soon, including A320neos for regional arm Thai Smile and new-generation widebody aircraft for the parent airline.

New-generation widebody options include Boeing Co 787s and Airbus SE A350s and A330neos.

The announcement comes at a time of transition and new leadership for the airliner, which is in the final phase of a reconstruction plan that began in 2015 aimed at restoring profitability.

Thai Airways reported a net loss in 2017 and a 14 percent fall in net profit for January-March.

On Tuesday, a new chairman was appointed while a new chief executive will take the helm later this year.

Last month, the carrier also expanded its maintenance, repair and overhaul service business through partnerships with Rolls-Royce and Airbus.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Stephen Coates

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