Thai Airways has gone through some rough times of late, much of it only ameliorated by the enduring attractiveness of the country to international tourists.
The bizarre political situation that ended with a military coup and an inept government of generals doesn’t look like changing. The generals are trying to rig the constitution to prevent a popular opposition ever taking power and the new King – seen as a living God – seems autocratic and ruthless, a far cry from his revered father. He tolerates no criticism and Royal Guard troops hunt down anyone who even vaguely makes any.
The national airline has had to face one of its main airports under water after severe floods, economic contraction as tourist numbers collapsed after the coup, on top of the oil price rises and allegedly, a low level purge of workers, not seen as sufficiently loyal to the government. It’s entire cargo arm was virtually liquidated – which is now being seen as possibly a little unwise.
It’s also had a fairly new fleet of long haul aircraft – many of which it could barely pay for and was forced to suspend some deliveries although they’re mostly now complete. However it still has 744’s that should have gone out of service and it needs to push growth against competitors in Malaysia, Vietnam and India never mind the ever present ME3 looking to scoop up passengers.
While the subject hasn’t surfaced of late because of the return of tourists, the future of the 6 A380’s has often been questioned, but it seems unlikely they’ll be withdrawn from key routes like Frankfurt and London.
Against this backdrop the Thai government is being asked to approve the purchase of 23 new aircraft – expected to be an equal split between the 787-9 or the 777-8 and the A350-900/1000.
These will replace the last few 744’s and cut operating costs while expanding capacity to take the airline into the future in a cut throat environment.