BANGKOK, 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 embattled U.S. carrier United Airlines (NYSE
:UAL - News).
Chairman Thanong Bidaya told reporters the deal would be about 30 billion baht ($702.2 million) 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, a unit of Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based UAL Corp (NYSE
:UAL - News), filed the largest bankruptcy in aviation history late last year.
The purchase from United Airlines, which still needs Thai cabinet approval, will be 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 the airline expected to receive three or four planes from United Airlines this year.
Thai Airways, which currently has 81 aircarft, has already bought two new Boeing 747-400 planes under its five-year plan. The two planes are scheduled for delivery in October.
Thai Airways shares closed down 1.7 percent at 29.50 baht, while the overall Thai stock market was down 0.2 percent.
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