Thai Airways has just listed its entire Boeing 747 fleet for sale along with several other aircraft. This move may not only mark the end of the Queen of the Skies for Thai Airways, but the end of first class all together.
Thai Airways Offers 747, Other Aircraft For Sale
Thai Airways has updated its aircraft sales page to include a number of new aircraft including 747s, 777s, and A340s.
- 10 Boeing 747-400s
- 6 Boeing 777-200s
- 6 Boeing 777-300s
- 6 Airbus A340-600s
- 3 Airbus A340-500s
- 2 Boeing 737-400s
- 1 Airbus A300-600
(the 737-400s and A300-600 were previously listed)
The aircraft are being sold “as is, where is” and interested parties have until November 13, 2020 to submit bids via email.
Thai has only 10 Boeing 747 aircraft, meaning the entire fleet is for sale. The 747s would not be available for immediate pick-up, but instead during the second quarter of 2021.
While that doesn’t mean that the 747 will stop operating or even necessarily that Thai wants to sell them all (it could be testing the waters), reduced longhaul demand and the continuing closure of the Kingdom of Thailand make it likely that Thai Airways will join a growing list of airlines that have retired the 747 during the pandemic.
The aircraft sale also foreshadows that Thai Airways may emerge from bankruptcy as a much more regional airline.
Will This Mean The End Of First Class On Thai Airways?
But if the 747 fleet goes, Thai will be left with six A380s. It seems very difficult to justify a spacious, dedicated first class lounge for six aircraft (12 seats each). Even more so, it seems difficult to justify a separate onboard menu, wine, and amenities. One Mile At A Time suggests we may see a “super business class” like on the Malaysia Airlines A350 and I sadly fear he is correct.
The hits keep on coming for the 747. In an age of reduced demand, the business case for operating a four-engine jet with excess capacity just isn’t there. It appears Thai Airways will be the next airline to retire the 747 from its fleet. The open question remains whether first class will survive.