Thai consider bringing back A340's due to mounting debt

Thai Airways, one of Asia’s best airlines with lush purple interiors and a founding member of Star Alliance. There’s a lot of good to be said about the airline however internally the airline is struggling, with an AU$4.6 billion debt it’s fair to say that the state-owned airline is in a spot of bother and is desperately trying to get back into profitability however passengers might have a surprise waiting for them if the proposed plan goes ahead.

Thai’s financial woes have been of public scrutiny so much so that the Thai government transport minister has suggested that Thai’s A340-600’s that were retired in 2015 be brought back into the skies to make a profit instead of accumulating fees in storage. Thai’s board previously rejected a bid for the purchase of 38 long-range aircraft earlier this year, citing that the large upfront purchase price. The reason Thai still has the A340-600’s because due to the new fuel-efficient planes on the market in recent years the A340 is viewed as a gas guzzler and has been unable to sell any of the six in storage with their two remaining A340-500’s simply having to be scrapped. The ideal plan is that the A340’s be retrofitted with new interiors to match the rest of the fleet and operate long haul routes throughout Thai’s network of 74 destinations. The oldest of Thai’s A340’s was delivered to the airline in 2005 with the newest being delivered in 2008, they are about midway through their services lives and potentially have 8-10 years of life left in them.

However, problems arise when the practicalities come into play. The retrofit would have to be massive, the A340’s business class seats do not have direct aisle access nor lie-flat seats with the economy cabin having outdated IFE screens and even the configuration would need to be changed due to the A340’s having the same business class seat count as the much larger A380. It’s four engines also makes it inefficient and noisier than other models as the retrofits possibly taking over 12 months to complete.

While the complications of getting these ageing aircraft back into the sky might be difficult it’s still a possible way to reduce costs significantly and with the transport minister having a very large impact over the decision there is a possibility that you could be hearing the mighty four-engined wide-body near you very soon. Only time will tell what happens.

Thai’s A340-600 at Sydney Airport full photo credit


I am really wondering why they haven’t sent them to scrapping, which should have generated some revenue. Storing them only costs money and the A340 unfortunately isn’t a great seller on the second hand market (and I can’t imagine how this is going to change).

Give them more fuel efficient engines :p

A340neo time


It’s probably cheaper to store at this point in the hopes that they will sell one day as opposed to just scrapping them and losing money.

Still I can’t imagine how they will be sold eventually. Ageing isn’t increasing the chances for a sale either.

Would imagine a scrapping (which can bring in some money) would have been the better options with a very poor sales outlook.

There are plenty of airplanes built in the 50s-60s like the 727 still flying in African and South American countries. I don’t see why someone wouldn’t be interested in buying these 340s. I’m not saying it’s an easy task to find a buyer, but not impossible either.

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Tell me when. I’ll cop one of those. Jk I’m broke but an A340neo would be dope

That’s true, but it seems the modern airliners aren’t made for those tasks.

Look at Iberia’s or LH’s A340s all being scrapped (as far as I am aware).

Seems that Thai isn’t in the majority with their decision to store them even though I very much understand your arguments!

Not the 727 specifically, those don’t fly passengers anymore, but generally those aren’t high paying clients, and they only want a few. Generally they just see an almost scrap priced plane, and decide to take a few, they don’t operate a lot of long haul routes, so there need for an A340 would be small to say the least, but I mean mabye…

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