Bangkok Airways rethinks fleet upgrade

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Bangkok Airways’ plan to upgrade its fleet of jets with next-generation aircraft seems to be disappearing from the radar screen.

The SET-listed airline apparently is no longer aiming to buy new single aisle jets such as the Airbus 320 neo or the Boeing 737 MAX as it won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits the aircraft offer, according to a report in Aviation Pros.

“Our jet flights are mostly within the range of one to one-and-a-half hours, so we won’t be able to benefit from the fuel efficiency these modern aircraft have to offer”, said Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth speaking wit the Bangkok Post.

He says the fuel saving benefits can only be achieved on flights more than two hours.

Additionally, the airline’s current plan doesn’t expect flights with longer times as the company’s focus will stay on domestic and short haul regional services.

And because jet fuel prices are relatively low today, at around $60 a barrel, the fuel efficiency gains from the new aircraft may not be apparent from an economic perspective.

The European-made A32 neo uses various efficiency-enhancing techniques, including modern engines and larger “sharklet” wingtips, prompting Bangkok Airways to stick with the class version of the A320 that dominates their current fleet.

The airline is looking to add more Airbus jetliners, such as the A320 and A319 to its fleet later this year. It currently operates 20 A320 and A319 jets along with 13 ATR-72 turboprop aircraft.

Towards the end of the year, the airline will take delivery of two more brand-new ATR 72-600 series with another one due next year to complete an order of nine ATR 72-600 turboprops from the French-Italian aeroplane maker ATR.

The Airbus aircraft that Bangkok Airways will be acquiring will not be brand-new but pre-owned, a strategy to lower capital costs.

SOURCE: Aviation Pros.

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