Thai Airways Overhauls Fleet With New B777 Due To Be Delivered While Several A380/B747 Are Up For Sale

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Thai Airways which is currently under bankruptcy administration is working on overhauling their fleet and is probing interest of potential buyers of used Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 aircraft.

At the same time the carrier is awaiting the delivery of three new Boeing 777-300ER that were ordered a couple of years ago, if they can pay for them that is.

Thai Airways has been trying to sell off their ageing fleet for a long time and in fact you can see THAI aircraft of older age sitting on runways all over Thailand.

So far very few if any takers have been interested in THAI’s aircraft over the years as their planes are piling up and sadly just waste away at their parking lot.

Right now any sale of Thai Airways assets is controlled by creditors and the bankruptcy court which is an additional hurdle, however I can’t imagine anyone lining up right now to buy one of these planes including the most recently listed two Airbus A380 (TG has a total of six A380 in the fleet).

You can access Thai Aircraft Trading here if you’re in the mood for some Christmas shopping.

Thai Airways has listed the following plane types for sale:

It’s absolutely staggering to consider that TG currently 43 planes for sale. Let that number sink in for a moment. Some of these planes however have been sitting for years.

You can compare this to Thai Airways current fleet through their fleet information website.

Over the years THAI has shifted the focus of their fleet a lot. While in the past the B747 was the workhorse of their operations this has mostly been changed to the B777.

Twelve Airbus A350 and eight B787 Dreamliners have brought a breath of fresh air into the THAI fleet and as mentioned before the carrier has three new B777-300 ER on order, at least one of which is in it’s final production cycle.

Question is what is going to happen to new aircraft orders should THAI be under a prolonged bankruptcy administration and reorganization process. As long as the company exists in it’s original form they are legally obliged to take the planes. Should THAI be formally declared bankrupt or fold entirely (unlikely but never say never in these times) then all bets are off and Boeing would likely sit on the planes. Of course they could register as creditors at the bankruptcy court for damages as contractually agreed to but that wouldn’t result in much.

Thai Airways is currently grounded except for some occasional “special flights” as they call them which are basically repatriation flights. At what time THAI will take to the skies again depends on multiple factors such as the outcome of the bankruptcy / reorganization that is currently going on in court as well as most of all when Thailand as a country decides to start opening their borders again.

Without open borders there is very little purpose of restarting the airline again. In local Thai news it has already been mulled that opening up the country wouldn’t be likely before the third quarter of 2021 following the widespread availability and vaccination of the Thai population against Covid-19.

A more comprehensive fleet modernization program for THAI was rejected in the fall but it seems like the thinning out and shrinkage of the fleet is having pretty much the same effect.

Conclusion

A large number (43 planes) of Thai Airways aircraft are currently listed for sale during a time when demand for planes has slumped worldwide. It’s unlikely that TG will find a willing buyer for these planes, especially the nine A340 and ten B747’s. A380s won’t be selling like hot cakes either as there have been a rather large number of A380s introduced into the used aircraft market over the past 18 months.

Aircraft parts do sell considerably better than whole planes but before you cut up a totally airworthy aircraft you better be damn sure that’s really the right choice.

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