Struggling Thai Airways to take drastic measures – will offload 42 jets and slash workforce by a third

Thai Airways ©AirTeamImages

Founded in 1961, the flag-carrying airline Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (Thai Airways) has remained virtually unprofitable for the best part of a decade. The ailing carrier is now taking drastic measures to turn round the company’s fortunes by selling off 42 less-fuel-efficient aircraft, 16 aircraft which are on lease will also be returned, basically halving its current fleet size to 58 planes across four different types.

These moves are all part of a bankruptcy-protected restructuring after protection was granted by the Central Bankruptcy Court in September 2020. In June 2021 the Central Bankruptcy Court accepted Thai Airways’ business plan, which had been previously agreed by creditors, to restructure its approximate 424-billion-baht debt. On Monday the Thai government lifted restrictions to enable quarantine-free travel for vaccinated tourists and the carrier intends to now expand its flight coverage, adding flights especially from Europe. By December 2022 Thai Airways will also reduce its workforce from a current 21,300 staff to 14,500.

While currently in discussions with the Thai government for an additional loan of 25 billion baht, the Thai carrier will finalise a 25-billion-baht credit agreement with financial institutions to aid cashflow by the end of next year. For the six-month period up to June this year Thai Airways posted a profit of 11.1 billion baht, compared to a loss of 28 billion baht for the same period in 2020. (£1.00 = US$1.18 = 45.44 baht).

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