After an extensive evaluation of the competing next generation of long haul aircraft, Bangkok Airways has announced its decision to acquire six Airbus A350s for operation on new long range services from Thailand to Europe commencing in 2012.
The airline currently operates a fleet of seventeen jet and turboprop aircraft on a network of services to exotic tourist destinations in Thailand and across Asia. The fleet includes three leased A320s, which are deployed on services from Bangkok to destinations in China and Japan.
This decision by Bangkok Airways takes total firm orders and commitments for the new Airbus A350 to 170 aircraft from 13 customers.
"Having taken into account all competitive and economic factors, we decided to choose the Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft for our future expansion into the long-haul market. Commonality with our Airbus A320 fleet was one of the key drivers in our decision making process. We are also extremely impressed by the innovative cabin features, which will support our long term strategy to feed passengers with outstanding high comfort from Europe into our new home at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and fly them to unique world-famous, cultural and holiday destinations in Thailand and the region," said Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bangkok Airways.
"We are proud to see Bangkok Airways joining the growing list of launch customers for the A350. This really demonstrates the popularity of our new wide-body in the market place. I am confident that that the spacious, superbly equipped cabin of the new A350 will be outstandingly popular with the airline's future long haul passengers, and enable it to maintain and even further improve the award winning reputation that the 36 year old airline has established over the years for providing its passengers with the very highest standards of comfort and service," said Gustav Humbert, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer.
Bangkok Airways has established an excellent reputation as a quality, boutique airline bringing visitors to Thailand and many of Asia's World Heritage sites. Signalling a major strategic development, the airline is expanding into long-haul routes for the first time and the A350-800 marks its first ever wide-body aircraft purchase. Bangkok Airways has selected a comfortable two-class interior with 258 seats, each equipped with individual video entertainment, including 36 lie-flat beds in Premium Class and 222 seats in Economy Class.
These new aircraft share the technologically advanced innovations of the A380 and are endowed with the latest technologies. Bangkok Airways will announce its engine choice at a later date.
With a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium lithium that combine to give the whole aircraft up to 60 per cent advanced materials, with a new landing gear, a new cabin, and up to 90 per cent new manufacturing part numbers, the A350 will have an unassailable advantage when it comes to fuel consumption and seat-mile costs, as well as cash operating costs.
Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.