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24 July 2009

Thai flag-carrier postpone taking A380s until 2012

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Thai Airways International said on Thursday it had negotiated with Airbus (EAD.PA) to delay the delivery of six A380 superjumbos to December 2012 from late 2010 to reflect weak airline business, Reuters reported.

"We want to postpone the delivery as far as possible to reflect the current market conditions," Chairman Ampon Kittiampon told reporters after its board meeting.

"We have agreed with Airbus for the delay," he said adding the first A380 would replace Boeing 747 plane, which would be decommissioned in 2012.

The airline, majority owned by the state, is among several in Asia struggling to cope with reduced air travel because of the economic crisis and the latest flu outbreak. It was also hit by political instability in Thailand that cut tourist numbers.

The airline has also ordered eight A330 aircraft, six of them to be delivered this year, and the delivery of the six was on schedule, Ampon said.

The percentage of seats sold in the first half was below its target of 70 percent, and Thai Airways planned to boost the number to at least 72 percent in the second half, he said.

The airline is in the process of restructuring after reporting a record net loss for the fourth quarter of 2008. But it reported a net profit of 7.87 billion baht ($232 million) in the first quarter, boosted by a foreign exchange gain and lower costs.

On Thursday, Thai Airways shares were up 4.7 percent, outperforming a 2.3 percent rise of the overall Thai stock market.


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