Controversy continues to bubble away at THAI

17 Sep 2014 by Clement Huang

Thai Airways International (THAI) no longer needs a THB7 billion (USD217 million) government-backed bailout loan, says its acting chairman Areepong Bhoocha-oom.

Thai media two weeks ago had reported THAI had asked the government for immediate cash assistance to stay operational throughout September.

THAI now says forward bookings for the December/January holiday period and the deferment of new aircraft deliveries (and payments) have stabilized cash flow and as a result it hopes to sustain operations throughout March 2015 without further credit.

First class

THAI has been struggling to make ends meet and embarked on a restructuring mission aimed at turning its fortunes around after a net loss of THB7.654 billion (US$236 million) in second-quarter 2014, more than double its THB2.899 billion loss in the year-ago period, and the fifth consecutive quarter of losses for the legacy carrier.

The carrier’s new Boeing B747-400 Bangkok – Dusseldorf service, slated to launch on December 1, has still not been confirmed by the airline and so continues to be unavailable for booking through the airline’s reservations system. A source at THAI has told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that German authorities have yet to give the service the green light.

In other news, THAI announced it will not be replacing the Boeing B747-400 it currently deploys on the Bangkok – Sydney route with the Boeing B777-300 and Boeing B777-300ER aircraft from October 26, as originally planned.

No reason has been given, but for passengers it means an extension of the airline’s most premium product on the route as only the B747 offers first class, while both B777-300 variants offer business and economy class only.

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Dominic Sebastian Lalk

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