Boeing Thai Airways

Thai Airways Places Order For Boeing 787 Dreamliners at Singapore Air Show

Thai Airways has been since 2020 the a sleeping giant of Asian civil aviation. The airline is arguably, along with Cathay Pacific, the one to have suffered the hardest blow in the past few years. However things are starting to look much brighter for the orchid airline, as Thai has finally placed a significant order to renovate and expand its fleet.

In this post:

Thai And Its Post 2020 Evolution

The carrier relies heavily on the constant influx of foreign travellers, particularly Europeans and Chinese. However the closing of borders worldwide brought the mighty Thai tourism industry to a halt. A dire situation which forced the national carrier to drastically reduce its fleet retiring all of its remaining Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, along with cutting many routes out of its network.

Here in my home country of Italy, Thai cut its extremely successful, particularly in the winter time, route from Bangkok to Rome. That route is still to come back with Thai Airways only reinstating the flight to Milan so far.

It seems though that better days are ahead. Tourism is finally returning to pre-2020 levels with huge numbers of travellers making their way to the sunny beaches of the southeast Asian country. Further confirmation of the positive outlook came in from the Singapore Air Show where Thai has finally placed a very interesting order to renovate and expand its fleet.

Daytime scene at Suvarnabhumi Airport with multiple Thai Airways aircraft, including a Boeing 777, parked at jet bridges adorned with the Siam Commercial Bank logo, with airport ground handling equipment in the foreground.

Thai Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner Order

The order is a juicy one for Boeing. The American manufacturer needed a morale boost after the Alaska 737 MAX 9 plug door blowout. Thai Airways has placed an order that can potentially translate into the supply of up to 80 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

At the moment though the standing firm order is for the supply of 45 aircraft. It isn’t clear which variant of the Dreamliner Thai Airways will be getting. However looking that the current fleet lineup it is likely to be a combination of both the 787-8 and 787-9.

What we do know though is that Thai Airways will be taking delivery of the first of these 45 planes in 2027 and the remaining 44 will join over the following decade.

Thai has also added into the agreement some sort of an option to also purchase in the future the Boeing 777X.

View from an airplane window of a Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER parked at the gate of Suvarnabhumi Airport, with distinctive architecture in the background under a partly cloudy sky.

The Thai Airways Changing Strategy, From Jumbos to Versatile Smaller Wide Bodies

What is very interesting to analyse though is the shift of Thai Airways to a new fleet structure. The Thai carrier used to have a large number of extremely big jets in its fleet, including the likes of the:

  • Boeing 747
  • Airbus A380
  • Airbus A340

However the carrier is now betting on the much smaller Boeing 787 to operate a more agile route network, who knows maybe to destinations it didn’t serve before in secondary cities or airports too. Or alternatively serve the same high profit destinations with a higher flight frequency offering travellers greater flexibility to reach the high sought after Thai tourist destinations.

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