Thai Airways is reactivating three Airbus A330s and two Boeing 777s ahead of the bustling summer travel season. The carrier is seeing strong need through July and August, with Europe appearing as the most-booked market for July and beyond.
Thai Airways A330
Thai Airways A330 fleet has been grounded since Feb 2021 and was extremely considered to be retired as the airline consolidated its fleet of almost the A350, 787, and 777s. However, this may not be the case, according to ch-aviation. Thai CCO Nond Kalinta recently told Nation Thailand that 5 planes will return to action.
This will see 3 A330-300s, of which nine stay in the fleet, and two 777-200s brought out of long-term storage for the busy forthcoming months. The decision marks an important milestone for Thai, which was looking to evolve into a much smaller carrier as the pandemic shuttered journey to the popular tourist country.
The story is similar to the 777-200s (not ERs), which have not flown since last July and were earmarked for retirement. Now, both types will be back in action ahead of the July-August travel surge. So what are the numbers looking like at the Bangkok-based airline?
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Thai Airways’ recent load factor stands at 70-80%, a massive improvement from the days of near-empty flights just a year ago. Much of the gains are coming from its European bases, with load factors topping 90% in current weeks, as many return to East Asia after three years.
60% of flights for July are already booked up
The airline expects to see this trend resume for now, with 60% of flights for July already booked up. To cope with the need, the five planes will be important, specifically if more destinations are to be restarted. Moreover, reactivating the machinery in almost the A330s and 777-200s will make it easier to bring out of storage in the future as well.
Despite being in Chapter 11-style bankruptcy since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, Thai Airways has made great strides towards making a full recovery and emerging as a profitable operation. The airline is now on track to leave bankruptcy in 2024, supported by over $700 million in loans from the government and huge cost cuts to the operation. This figure is half of the $1.4bn originally scheduled due to rapidly improving traveler figures.
In 2022, the airline is predicting 4.48 million passengers and getting in payments of $2.2 billion, up from just 194,000 passengers last year alone. The carrier has technically operated to turn a full-year profit in 2021 thanks to drastic cost-cutting and one-off accounting expenses but stays a few years from returning to positive equity.
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