Thailand’s PM promises help for domestic low-cost airlines

Seven of Thailand’s domestic low-cost airlines have been promised a new lease of life, after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to help, starting with the injection of 24 billion baht in soft loans for the struggling aviation sector, hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Representatives of Thai Air Asia, Thai Air Asia X, Thai Smile, Thai Lion Air, Thai Viet Jet, Bangkok Airways and Nok Air met with the Prime Minister at Government House Friday morning, to air their grievances and to submit their request for support.

Government spokesman, Mr. Anucha Burapachaisri, said after the meeting that the seven airlines have responded to the Government’s request to retain their approximately 20,000 staff throughout the COVID crisis, despite the fact that their business is severely limited by the lockdown measures.

He said that the soft loans, which will be available from October, will keep the troubled airlines afloat for about another year.

Regarding the airlines’ proposal to extend the period of reduced excise tax, charged on aviation fuel, which is due to expire at the end of September, Mr. Anucha said that the administration is assessing the matter, noting that the Government has already rolled out the “We Tour Together” programme to support the tourism industry.

He said, however, that the Government has agreed to extend, to the end of March next year, the 50% cut in landing and take-off charges, as well as aircraft storage fees, which are due to expire at the end of this year.

 

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