23 May 2024

Former Finance Minister and Democrat list MP Korn Chatikavanich has voiced his concern over the financial crisis facing Thai Airways International and, at the same time, has objected to any plan to use taxpayers’ money to rescue the national flag carrier.

In his Facebook post on Monday, Korn said THAI’s financial current trouble is similar to that in 2008, when the company struggled to find money to repay its debts on daily basis.

He said he agreed with the opinion, expressed by Mr. Banyong Pongpanich, a veteran investment banker, that the most important thing for THAI to do is cut costs.

Korn recalled the experience about ten years ago when he, as the finance minister, announced to the public that the government would not inject money to help THAI, would not guarantee new loans for the airline and that the company must have a rehabilitation plan that clearly shows how it will cut costs.

The Democrat MP said he, and the then transport minister, brought in a new management team and professional board members to THAI and the result was that the airline made profits in 2009 and 2010, but the airline went back into the red a year later and has remained there since the management and the board were replaced under the government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

He noted that tourist arrivals in Thailand have increased every year and other airlines have made profits, except Thai Airways International, which appears to get worse “which is unusual”.

THAI president Sumeth Dameongchaitham announced that the company’s executives had been asked to voluntarily cut their meeting allowances and remuneration to show spirit in helping the company get through this financial crisis.