LGB Photos From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (12 years 9 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4654 times:
CHICAGO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Thai Airways International Plc said on Wednesday its board had approved in principle a plan to buy seven Boeing 747-400 aircraft from bankrupt U.S. carrier United Airlines.
A United spokesman confirmed the airline was in negotiations with Thai Airways on the aircraft sale but would not speculate when the deal would be wrapped up.
Thai Airways Chairman Thanong Bidaya told reporters the deal would be about $702.2 million (30 billion baht) cheaper than buying new planes.
"The board's view is that the purchase is good for Thai Airways as it will help us save a lot," Thanong said.
A company official told Reuters the seven planes would cost about $330 million.
United, the No. 2 U.S. airline and a unit of Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based UAL Corp. (NYSE:UAL - News), filed the largest bankruptcy in aviation history in December.
United is still in talks with aircraft financiers to decide which planes it will keep as the company reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. The carrier can either retain or cancel leases -- or renegotiate financing terms -- on certain of its planes with the bankruptcy court's approval.
United believes it can save possibly hundreds of millions of dollars by renegotiating the terms of leases and mortgages on 463 of the 567 jets in its fleet. The carrier has said so far that it plans to resume payments on 154 newer airplanes in its fleet and make $128 million in catch-up payments.
UAL executives have said the airline has already reached some temporary deals in which United is paying some sort of rent to financiers while permanent aircraft agreements are worked out. But executives have declined to say how many aircraft leases United plans to reject.
Air carriers have parked hundreds of aircraft since the Sept. 11 attacks because there is simply not enough demand to fill planes.
"These are airplanes that are surplus to our needs," UAL spokesman Jeff Green said. "Thai finds them useful for their fleet, so there you have a good match-up."
Green would not comment on whether United owned the planes outright or was leasing them. Of the 44 planes in United's 747-400 fleet, the airline owns 23 of them, he said.
Green also declined to say whether the seven planes were parked or were currently in service.
The purchase from United, which still needs Thai cabinet approval, is part of a Thai Airways plan to buy 12 planes over the next five years. Thai Airways is 93 percent owned by the Thai government.
Thanong said Thai Airways expected to receive three or four planes from United this year.
Thai Airways, which currently has 81 aircraft, has already bought two new Boeing 747-400 planes under its five-year plan. The two planes are scheduled for delivery in October.
Kaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 13077 posts, RR: 33
Reply 6, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4479 times:
Does this save United's bacon - for the moment at least - assuming the deal can be warpped up quickly?
I can't say I agree with UAL's move. It's really only putting off the inevitable. The purchase price is only part of the issue:
- How can it open up new routes with 744s? A340s would have allowed it to do so.
- The airline now has about 17 744s now, some of which are among the earliest. When it finally comes to replace 744s with a more modern type, it will have to find buyers for 24 aircraft and even now, the market for second hand 744s can't be good.
CX747 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4505 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4315 times:
The 747-400s will fit into Thai's fleet nicely. They allow for expansion and increased frequency/capacity on current routes. If you can get an extremely capable aircraft at a fraction of the cost of a new one (A340) you do it. As for what lies down the road, yes Thai will have 17 747-400s, but by that time, the conversion to freighter program will more than likely be underway. Cargo companies will be looking for replacements for their 747-200Fs.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower