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Thai Airways to Acquire 14 New Planes - 2004-08-02


Thailand's Thai Airways International will buy 14 new planes, while South Korea's first-half current account surplus hits a record high.

Thai Airways International will buy 14 new planes as part of its goal to become the top carrier in Southeast Asia. The move will expand the carrier's routes and increase flight frequencies, particularly to the United States and Australia.

Kavee Chukitkasem, an analyst at Capital Nomura Securities, says the new planes may help the airline capture more tourist traffic and therefore more revenue.

"Thai Airways have a target in the next 10 years from now - the revenue should be double. I think it may be possible," he says. "Thai Airways not only increase aircraft, also increase the profitable destination."

Mr. Kavee estimates Thai Airways will spend $2 billion on the planes. A Thai newspaper reported the purchase will include eight Airbus and six Boeing jets.

South Korea's first-half current account surplus hit 13 billion dollars, the biggest in six years. Jiwon Lim, an economist with investment bank J.P. Morgan, says the surplus is a result of strong exports and slow imports, due in part to a sluggish domestic economy. She says that the gap will narrow sometime next year.

"Exports are stay firm, however, domestic demand will eventually improving," he says. "The imports pace will outweigh exports eventually, so current account surplus will be coming down."

The United States Embassy in Jakarta says Indonesia and the United States signed an aviation agreement to increase flights, trade and tourism between the two countries. The agreement eliminates restrictions on how often carriers fly between the two countries, the aircraft they use, and the prices they charge.

The deal follows a similar one recently signed between the United States and China.

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