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Airbus' A380 losses are its clients' gain

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject: Airbus' A380 losses are its clients' gain Reply with quote

Delay provides an idea how much a jet will set you back

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thai Airways International, one of Southeast Asia's biggest carriers, has provided a rare glimpse into airplane pricing by Airbus, which offered the airline a discount as compensation for delays in delivering the A380.

The carrier was offered a dozen A330 planes from Airbus at nearly 50 percent off the listed price.

Airbus and Boeing heavily discount their planes, but how much an airline pays is highly competitive. Neither airplane maker ever talks about actual pricing. And only rarely does a customer disclose this kind of sensitive information.

But Thai Airways Chairman Chalit Pukbhasuk told reporters Thursday, after a nine-hour board meeting in Bangkok, that Airbus is offering 12 A330s at $90 million each.

The price is compensation for delays in delivering six A380 aircraft to the airline, he said.

"We want to get the largest discount for the new aircraft as possible because the delay of the A380s has significantly hurt our business expansion plan," Chalit said. "The talks will also focus on the deposit of about $80 million that Thai Airways already paid for the six A380s on order."

The 253- to 335-seat A330 lists for $165 million to $182.8 million a plane.

Thai Air plans to use the 555-seat A380, which will be the world's biggest commercial aircraft when it enters service, to add capacity and destinations to meet growth in travel. Tourism revenue generated this year by Thailand, Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, will rise 13 percent to $16 billion, the country's tourism authority has estimated.

Airbus, the world's largest maker of commercial aircraft, has delayed the A380 project because of wiring problems, most recently in October. The Toulouse, France-based plane maker has told Thai Air there will be a postponement of between 22 months and 24 months beyond the rescheduled November 2009 start of deliveries.

Thai Airways President Apinan Sumanaseni said in an interview that the airline had already been offered the aircraft at $100 million before the additional 10 percent discount.

The carrier has also asked for a proposal from The Boeing Co. for its 777-200 model for comparison purposes and in case the airline isn't "satisfied" with the Airbus talks, Apinan told reporters after the board meeting.

"We need to make a quick decision because we will have to retire about 40 aircraft from the fleet in the next 10 years," Apinan said.

Barbara Kracht, a spokeswoman for Airbus, declined to comment.

Thai Air had 44 Boeing planes and 41 aircraft made by Airbus in its fleet as of June 30, according to the carrier's Web site. The number excludes four Boeing planes delivered in October and November.
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