11 July 2024

Thai Airways International president Sumeth Damronchaitham has admitted, for the first time, that the national flag carrier is in deep financial crisis, to the extent that it may have to fold unless all staff members unite to work harder.

He also said that there may still be time, albeit not much, to save the company “otherwise speculation that THAI is going bankrupt will materialize and there is a chance that we will reach that point.”

In his forthright speech to THAI executives during a training course at the company’s head office today (Tuesday), Mr. Sumeth said there is fierce competition from low-cost airlines on the northern domestic routes, which used to generate one-third of the airline’s revenue, while the European routes have been affected by the strong baht and Brexit related issues.

He added that the airline is facing disruption to operations from cut-throat competition in the aviation industry, the closing of air space by some countries, high fuel costs and the grounding of planes while they undergo major maintenance.

Mr. Sumeth disclosed that the airline ran up about six billion baht in losses in the first half of this year, expected to increase to 10 billion baht by year’s end.

Accumulated losses for the past five years amount to 36 billion baht.

Although the situation looks grim, he said that he would not give up and he urged staff members to wake up and do something in earnest “because there is little time left for us.  There is no more comfort zone, and we will all be dead if the ship sinks.”