Thai Cargo rebuilds freighter fleet

Speaking to Payload Asia on the sidelines of the Federation of Asia Pacific Air-cargo Association’s (FAPAA) 36th Executive Council Meeting and AGM in Bangkok last month, Thai Cargo’s managing director Cargo & Mail Commercial Department, Pruet Boobphakam said the carrier had signed leases for two B747-400ELR freighters which will be in operation before the end […]


Speaking to Payload Asia on the sidelines of the Federation of Asia Pacific Air-cargo Association’s (FAPAA) 36th Executive Council Meeting and AGM in Bangkok last month, Thai Cargo’s managing director Cargo & Mail Commercial Department, Pruet Boobphakam said the carrier had signed leases for two B747-400ELR freighters which will be in operation before the end of the year.

The addition of the dedicated freighter capacity makes good on Boobphakam’s earlier statements that Thai Cargo was eager to regain its former glory, after a gradual stripping of its main deck cargo capacity over the years that left it with only the belly capacity of Thai Airways’fleet of 88 passenger aircraft. This put it at severe disadvantage in terms ofmoving Thailand’s substantial perishablesexports, which Boobphakam hopes torecapture.

These two freighters are only a stepping stone however, as Boobphakam said they will be replaced by two leased B777-200 freighters with the first coming online in February with a second in March or April. Another two B777Fs will join the fleet from later in the year, he added.

Three initial routes are being eyed by Thai, including: Bangkok-New Delhi- Europe; Bangkok-Shanghai-US; and Bangkok-Jakarta-Australia.

Although coming in the midst of the worst downturn the air cargo market has ever seen, Boobphakam is confident that Thailand’s still booming perishables Avient Aviation made a “market test flight” to Hong Kong last month. export market will help fill Thai Cargo’s freighters. Thai is also finalising work on a new 10,350 sq m perishables centre at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport that will support its cold-chain business. Plans are also in the works for an expansion of Thai’s cargo handling facility at the airport, which currently has a capacity of one million tonnes per year, but will soon reach maximum capacity with the new freighters coming onboard, he said.