Thai Airways International (TG, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) will announce the details of its turnaround plan by December 2018, newly appointed President Sumeth Damrongchaitham told the Bangkok Post.

"Thai's rehab plan aims to raise income from the airline business, catering, and the MRO facility at Utapao airport, aiming to develop one of the most advanced MRO centres in the world," Sumeth said.

He added that while initially, Thai signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) for the development of the MRO facility, it has since also received an expression of interest from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare). As such, a public tender is planned and the final joint venture partner is expected to be selected by February 2019.

The Thai government is planning to invest THB6.3 billion baht (USD195 million) in the MRO centre, while the selected private partner would be expected to inject around THB4.3 billion baht (USD130 million).

The airline also plans to decide on the proposed addition of twenty-three new aircraft within the next month-and-a-half. Subsequently, the fleet strategy will be put forward for an approval by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) and the Thai cabinet.

"The plan to buy new aircraft is a vital part of Thai's restructuring plan. The purchase is deemed essential to increase the potential of Thai's airline business," Sumeth stressed.

In September, the NESDB criticised the previous fleet growth plan and sent it back to the airline for reconsideration.

The new order would likely include A320neo for regional subsidiary Thai Smile (WE, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) and any of A330-800s, A330-900s, A350s, B787-9s, or B777Xs for the mainline carrier.