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Old April 23rd, 2009, 09:00 PM   #441
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THAI bookings slump 20% in ten days

THE NATION Published on April 24, 2009


Thai Airways International has witnessed a 20-per-cent drop in bookings since the government imposed a state of emergency on April 13, a move that has scared away Asian tourists - mostly from China, South Korea and Japan. Acting president Narongsak Sangapong said yesterday that this factor, coupled with the global economic crisis that has depleted the number of tourists from Europe, meant THAI's cabin factor for the period March to May had fallen to as low as 75-76 per cent, against 85-90 per cent in the same period last year.

"The state of emergency should be revoked as soon as possible to reduce the negative impact on the tourism industry," he said.

He added that THAI would try to win back business by joining hands with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and private operators in launching joint promotions aimed at attracting visitors to the Kingdom in the second half of the year.

Attorney-General Chaikasem Nitisiri, vice chairman of the airline, said that despite the violence on Songkran Day, THAI still maintained its goal of posting a net profit of Bt4 billion this year.

"Luckily, the violence was diffused quickly. The situation should not get worse if the airport is not shut down again," he said. THAI has claimed damage of Bt20 billion as a result of Suvarnabhumi Airport's 10-day shutdown late last year.

The airline suffered a net loss of Bt21 billion last year, due largely to the political conflict, spiking jet-fuel prices and Bt4.29 billion set aside against possible damage from antitrust and competition cases in the United States, the European Union, New Zealand, Australia and South Korea.

Niruj Maneepun, vice president for THAI's legal department, yesterday said he expected the EU case to wind up before the others, probably late this year. Meanwhile, US passengers are being enlisted for a class-action lawsuit, which will take time before the case goes to court.

He said the reserves of Bt4.29 billion were based on initial penalties that THAI would have to pay if it lost cases involving surcharges. The carrier has set aside Bt807 million as legal fees, of which it has already spent Bt70 million.

The national carrier's shareholders at an eight-hour meeting on Wednesday appointed 13 directors, including Finance Ministry permanent secretary Suparut Kawatkul.

The nomination of Suparut angered some minor shareholders, who said he should be disqualified following the National Anti-Corruption Commission's recent confirmation of an earlier ruling that he had violated civil-service rules.

However, Chaikasem insisted that despite the NACC ruling, no action had yet been taken against Suparut and he therefore remained qualified for the directorship.

Other directors include Surachai Tansitpong, permanent secretary of the Transport Ministry, Wallop Bhukkanasut and Banyong Pongpanich.

Chaikasem added that the new board would convene as soon as possible to appoint a chairman. The first meeting agenda could also include the airline's medium- and long-term business-improvement plan, which entails restructuring.

It is also anticipated that THAI will welcome a new president by then. Narongsak said that within two weeks, it should be known who among the 11 applicants would be the new incumbent.

In his capacity as acting president, Narongsak will next week submit the business-improvement plan to a UK financial institution, with a view to tapping funds to ease THAI's liquidity shortage.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #442
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Thai Airways International
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (Thai: การบินไทย) (SET: THAI) is the national air carrier of Thailand, operating out of Suvarnabhumi Airport, and is a founding member of the Star Alliance network. It is headquartered in Bangkok.[2] The airline operates some of the longest non-stop commercial flights, including routes from Bangkok to Los Angeles. Skytrax awarded Thai Airways International 'Worlds Best Cabin Staff and The Best Airline in the World' in 2006, while placing second in the 'Airline of the Year' category in 2007

History

Thai started as Thai Airways International, a joint venture with Scandinavian Airlines System (which initially held a 30% share), along with a domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (Thai: เดินอากาศไทย). The carrier's first flight was on May 1, 1960. On April 1, 1977, the Thai government bought out the remaining 15% of SAS-owned shares. On April 1, 1988, the two carriers merged to form the present Thai Airways International.

The arrival of the A340-500 coincided with a change to the airline's image, including a new livery and a revised font for the title "THAI".

On May 1, 2005, the airline began a nonstop Bangkok-New York service (TG790/791) with a new A340-500. The New York-bound flight time was 16 hours 55 minutes and Bangkok-bound flight time was 17 hours 10 minutes. Routing from New York/JFK was via Bergen; Oslo; Stockholm; the Baltic States; south of Moscow; Kabul; south of Delhi and on into Bangkok. Routing from Bangkok/BKK was north over Laos and Vietnam; then over China and into Siberia; north to a very short crossing of the Chukchi Sea to near Nome, Alaska; east past Cambridge Bay and the southern end of the Northwest passage; then southeast over Hudson Bay to a point between Ottawa and Montreal and finally over the Adirondacks and the Hudson Valley down into JFK. Citing very high fuel costs, Thai discontinued the JFK service as of July 1, 2008, even though the airline had been able to fill 80% of the seats, leaving LAX as the only Thai Airways destination in the United States

Royal Orchid Plus

Thai Airways International's Royal Orchid Plus is the first frequent flyer program established in Thailand[citation needed]. It has a membership of over two million members worldwide.

Earning Miles

There are two types of mile which can be earned towards a Royal Orchid Plus account.

Firstly, Eligible Qualifying Miles (EQM) this type of mile is earned on:

Thai Airways flights
TG codeshare flights on routes departing from/to Bangkok (Malaysian Airlines, Emirates Airlines, El Al Israel Airlines and China Eastern Airlines)
Star Alliance flights
Jet Airways flights
Qualifying Miles (Q Miles) are the miles flown and additional class of service miles on Thai and Star Alliance airlines. Royal Orchid Plus miles are earned based on the paid class of travel.

Secondly, Partner Miles are earned from non-airline partners, such as hotels.

Status Tiers

There are three tiers in the Royal Orchid Plus program

Member – entry-level status
Silver – requires 10,000 Q Miles in one calendar year or 15,000 Q Miles from the date of enrolment up to December 31 of the next complete calendar year
Gold – requires 50,000 Q Miles in one calendar year, 80,000 Q Miles from the date of enrolment up to December 31 of the next complete calendar year, or 40 international flown sectors on THAI within any 1 calendar year.

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Old April 24th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #443
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Old April 24th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #444
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Old April 24th, 2009, 09:04 AM   #445
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Old April 24th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #446
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Old May 6th, 2009, 05:49 PM   #447
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THAI to operate direct flights to Oslo

THAI to operate direct flights to Oslo


Thai Airways International Public Company Limited Wednesday announced the introduction of direct flights between Bangkok and Oslo, which will be inaugurated on June 15.

It said it will be the first South East Asian Carrier to serve the traveling demand between Norway and Thailand.

THAI's Bangkok - Oslo and vice versa operations will utilize A340-500 aircraft, in Royal Silk (Business Class) 60 seats, Premium Economy 42 seats and Economy Classes 113 seats. Effective 15 June 2009 onwards, the direct flights will be operating five days per week, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with 11 hours flight time.

By: The Nation News
May 6, 2009 : Last updated 06:33 pm
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #448
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Thai Airways's first quarter profit soars to Bt7.87 billion

The Nation 14/05/2009


Thai Airways International said in a filing today that first-quarter profit thanks to a lower jet fuel prices reduced its cost and a strong bath cut foreign-currency loans. THAI turns to see profit after seeing net loss of Bt21.38 billion in the last quarter.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #449
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Thai seeks UK guarantee

The Nation Published on May 14, 2009


Thai Airways Inter-national is asking for a loan guarantee from Britain's export credit agency to help reduce interest charges.

Pichai Chunhavajira, chairman of the flag carrier's business restructuring committee, said yesterday the loan would be less than the original plan for Bt20 billion thanks to financial improvement in the first quarter.

THAI's consolidated net profit soared 255 per cent to Bt7.87 billion from Bt2.2 billion in the same quarter last year.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 09:23 PM   #450
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THAI to borrow Bt60 bn in 2009

By The Nation 14/05/2009


Thai Airways International plans to borrow Bt60 billion this year to finance the purchase of 4 aircraft, retire short-term loans and boost liquidity, said its director Wallop Bhukkanasut.


Most of the loans would be sought overseas due to lower interest cost. Within July, it would raise Bt20 billion.


THAI needs to pay US$600 million for 4 Airbus A330-300 in the latter half of this year, following the delivery of two earlier this year. According to Wallop, the European Credit Guarantee Department would be approached to guarantee the loan for the aircraft purchase. He added that THAI should recover from financial problems next year when the delivery of two more aircraft is scheduled.


Wallop said that during 2009-2011, the company sets to grow revenue by 3-8 per cent per annum. The cabin factor will be maintained at 76 per cent on average. The airline also targets net profit of Bt10 billion in 2010, through tight cost controls.


The airline expected to return to profits this year, after the losses of over Bt20 billion last year.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 10:20 PM   #451
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At New Bangkok Airport.


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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #452
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Flu and economy stall THAI growth

Bangkokpost 28/05/2009


The H1N1 virus is adding downward pressure to Thai Airways International, whose system-wide cabin factor slumped to just 60%, barely the break-even point.

The flag carrier saw a decline in passenger numbers across all routes, with a sharp drop on its North Asia markets including China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The virus is responsible for more than 20% of the impact on these sensitive markets already adversely affected by the global economic crisis and Thailand's political turmoil, according to a senior THAI executive.

THAI also had fewer passengers on flights to the Mediterranean, but Los Angeles was surprisingly unaffected.

The flu, which has swept across much of the world since it was first identified in April, has affected international traffic flow more than domestic.

The airline now fills only 59% of international seats compared to slightly more than 60% on domestic services.

Several promotional campaigns including discounted tickets have helped to arrest the decline in passenger traffic.

"With current cabin factors, we can barely survive," the executive added.

People are travelling less and the virus threat isn't helping.

As of last week, 12,022 cases of H1N1 flu, including 86 deaths, had been reported to the World Health Organization from 43 countries. More than half of the cases were from the US; of the deaths, 75 were reported by Mexico.

The executive does not foresee a recovery any time soon as the concern about infection compounded unresolved economic and political drawbacks.

The low travel season from May to August usually impedes any traffic revival.

"Generally speaking, we should see a recovery in the fourth quarter of this year if the political situation does not deteriorate," the THAI executive noted.

International arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand's gateway, slumped 19.7% in the first four months of this year to 3.18 million, compared to 3.96 million in the same period last year. All geographical areas, except the Middle East and South Asia, contracted according to statistics compiled by the Immigration Police at Suvarnabhumi airport.

East Asia showed the steepest drop, contracting 29.4% year-on-year to 1.26 million. Europe shrank 12.8% to 1.14 million, America was down 18.1% to 243,513, South Asia was up 0.64% to 209,221, Oceania dropped 19.8% to 151,129, the Middle East increased 12.2% to 146,564 and Africa was down 24.7% to 24,702.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #453
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TG lenders lukewarm Only two contenders as carrier seeks B35bn

Bangkokpost Published: 30/05/2009 at 12:00 AM


Lenders seem unenthusiastic about extending loans of up to 35 billion baht to resolve the liquidity problems at Thai Airways International.

Only two out of the five financial institutions invited to submit loan proposals have made written offers to extend 5 billion baht each, according to Pichai Chunhavajira, a board member of the national carrier.

However, THAI chairman Ampon Kittiampon yesterday played down concerns of a lack of confidence in the airline, saying that the five prospective lenders expressing were large players.

Earlier, local banks including Krung Thai and Siam Commercial Bank had showed reluctance to lend money, with requirements estimated at 20 billion baht, to solve the airline's immediate liquidity constraints.

Sources said lenders would impose tough terms with "relatively high" interest to reflect the airline's credit rating.

The THAI board of directors, which usually meets once a month, yesterday held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the progress of its financial revival plan, a critical part of its ongoing overall business rehabilitation.

The flag carrier needs to secure 30-35 billion baht for this year with 5 billion required for next month.

THAI last year posted a first-ever loss, amounting to 21.38 billion baht, because of a series of problems including mistimed fuel hedging and a sharp downturn in travel demand caused by the global economic crisis.

Mr Ampon yesterday insisted that THAI's liquidity problems were less acute than before.

In a circular sent this week to employees, acting president Narongsak Sangapong said liquidity problems remained though THAI reported a 255% year-on-year surge in net profit in the first quarter to 7.87 billion baht, mainly due to a foreign-exchange gain and falling costs.

He said the airline still had to make "substantial" installment payments for aircraft purchases in the next few months while needing to secure money to pay for new jetliners to be delivered.

"Our debt-to-equity ratio remains high and it is clear that we cannot solve our financial problems in a short time," he said.

THAI will set up a working committee, led by Ngamnit Sombutpibool, executive vice-president for finance and accounting, to negotiate with the banks.

Though the airline faces uncertainties in the second and third quarters, Mr Narongsak said he hoped the fourth quarter, the peak travel season, would produce some profit for 2009.

The second quarter was affected by lower tourist arrivals due to the global impact of the H1N1 flu virus, fallout from political violence in Thailand in April and the generally lower seasonal demand.The second-quarter cabin factor - the percentage of seats sold - was 64-65%, down from more than 80% in the first quarter, he said.

In another development, Mr Ampon said a search panel headed by board member Areepong Bhoocha-oom was expected to report its selection of candidates for chief executive on June 18.

Seven out of 11 applicants, including former energy minister Piyasvasti Amranand and Prapat Chongsanguan, the former governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority, were pre-qualified for interviews by the panel on June 11.

THAI shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 14.90 baht, down 10 satang, in trade worth 309.2 million baht.
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Old June 5th, 2009, 09:04 PM   #454
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THAI's special offer to Royal Orchid Plus member

By The Nation 5/06/2009


Thai Airways International's Royal Orchid Plus offers a special offer for 20 per cent discount on its domestic award travel for its members.

When redeeming a roundtrip economy class to any THAI destination within Thailand, members need just 12,000 miles instead of 15,000 miles, and travel in Royal Silk Class is just 16,000 miles instead of 20,000. Bookings can be made with THAI reservations worldwide from June 10-30, with an extended travel period to September 30, 2009.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 09:27 PM   #455
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Will Thai Airways keep the A340-600 in service? I heard that they're planning to retire them...if it's true, than it's a pity because the A340 look really good and massive with Thai's livery.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #456
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Thai Airways cuts travel agents' commission


Within days of a travel agents’ meeting with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which resulted in the latter demanding clarifications from 14 foreign airlines, Thai Airways has cut the commission payable to travel agents from 5 per cent to 3 per cent.

In a letter issued to travel agents across the country, Thai Airways has said that “...from 16th June, 2009, the IATA’s commission shall be changed from 5 per cent to 3 per cent. Both the Basic Fare and ‘Q’ Surcharge are commissionable.”

‘Q’ surcharge stands for the current fuel/insurance surcharge and the service charge. Earlier, only the basic fare was commissionable and not the surcharge.

But now, the airline is trying to make the reduction even in commission by making both the basic fare and surcharge commissionable. This will be applicable to all tickets issued or reissued on or after June 16, 2009.

On Wednesday, the DGCA had asked foreign airlines to explain why they have not been giving commission or remuneration to travel agents. The regulator issued letters to 14 foreign airlines and gave them a time period of 10 days to come up with the reasons.

The decision was the outcome of a meeting between the travel fraternity bodies — such as TAAI, TAFI, IAAI, IATO, ADTOI and ETAA — and the DGCA in Delhi.

Most airlines stopped paying the 5 per cent commission from November, forcing agents to shift to a fixed transaction fee on every ticket purchased. However, the fixed transaction fee, which was in the range of Rs 350-2,500 a ticket, depending on the class and routes, had also been discontinued from December.

Later, all the domestic carriers including Jet Airways, Kingfisher and Air India agreed to pay a 3 per cent commission to travel agents. However, foreign airlines did not restore the commission, nor the transaction fee.

According to travel agents, a 5-7 per cent commission from foreign carriers is reasonable. Compared to domestic flights, travel agents, in the case of international airlines, have to provide extra services related to passports, visas and foreign currency.

“We are waiting for the foreign airlines to respond to the DGCA’s letter demanding clarifications. After that we will take it forward. We want 5-7 per cent commission for the agents,” Shahrukh Kapadia, chairman-Airline Council, TAAI told Business Standard in a reaction to the letter.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #457
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Seasonal offers on Thai to Thailand extended to 19 June 2009


Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (Thai) has extended its seasonal package rates from the Middle East to Thailand for departures until 19th June 2009.


With Thailand almost free of swine influenza infections, Thai also recently reviewed its health and safety procedures and has implemented preventive measures to prevent the spread of swine flu, and other transmittable infections on flights, as a precaution for Thai's passengers and customers using the airline and its facilities.

Rates are exclusive of taxes and surcharges and valid until 19th June 2009 (except Thursday departure flights).

Thai is also offering special fares to Australia, China and Kuala Lumpur, with details available on request, and will be increasing its flights from Dubai to Bangkok during July & August to cope with seasonal demand.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #458
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THAI reconsiders costly jumbo jet deal

Bangkokpost Published: 9/06/2009


KUALA LUMPUR : Thai Airways International (THAI) seems poised to cancel its order of six A380 superjumbo jets, which it considers not viable for its operations and, at a total cost of about US$1.8 billion, too expensive to fund.

Wallop Bhukkanasut, chairman of THAI's executive board, revealed the national carrier's revised stance on procuring the world's largest civil aircraft, which it agreed to purchase back in 2007 when the carrier was struggling to weather its worst financial crisis in 49 years.

"It is not economically viable to have and deploy this aircraft in our network," Mr Wallop said at the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting being held in Kuala Lumpur.

Airlines operating A380s have found it difficult to achieve the yields they expected due to the global economic crisis, high operating costs and a lack of flexibility in moving the aircraft through airports, he said.

"It is a special mission airplane and can currently operate through eight airports around the world, meaning you can't put the aircraft on routes as you may wish," he said.

With THAI's planned configuration of the A380, the airline must fill 88.8% of 501 seats just to break even, he said.

"We need to make a major turnaround decision," he said.

He added that the final decision rests with the Thai government and the issue needs to be addressed by the Finance and Transport Ministries.

Top Airbus executives have already sensed THAI's new stance on the A380 and are reportedly seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

"From the operating point of view, the A380 does not make economic sense. My immediate preoccupation is to enable THAI to survive the current storm and later to sustain the airline," he said.

When THAI puts its first A380 in the air in late 2011, the aircraft's novelty may have worn off. The plane may therefore no longer appeal to passengers as it currently does for Singapore Airlines and Emirates Airlines, which have A380s with more luxurious features - such as shower rooms for first-class passengers, in the case of Emirates.

"It could be a case of Johnny comes lately," Mr Wallop quipped.

THAI may be unable to compete effectively with other A380 operators on routes that the flag carrier has had in mind for some time, he said.

The airline planned to fly A380s on its long-haul routes, such as Bangkok to London, Paris and Frankfurt.

Yet Airbus may not be able to consign the megajets to THAI as scheduled in the latest timetable, he said.

THAI is prepared for "some acceptable" penalty arising from the contract breach with Airbus, but Mr Wallop said negotiations could take place on substituting the double-decker A380 jetliners with other Airbus aircraft.

"There is no contract that can't be broken or re-negotiated," said Mr Wallop, who retired as THAI's executive vice-president for commercial affairs two years ago and recently became chairman of the airline's executive board.

Financing the megajets, each costing about $300 million, as well as other new aircraft under the airline's re-fleeting programme will be a great burden for the airline.

THAI may have to extend the service years of its fleet, now averaging 12 years, to 20 years to reduce the expense of procuring new jets, said Mr Wallop.

"Instead of buying new planes, we can maintain THAI's appeal by refurbishing the cabins, which costs much less," he said.

The flag carrier, which has more than 80 aircraft, previously planned to procure at least 46 planes over the next decade and to retire 24 aircraft more than 20 years old in the next five years.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #459
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THAI finalises plan

THE NATION Published on June 10, 2009


Thai Airways International has finalised a five-year cost-reduction plan under which it plans to cut annual expenses by Bt12 billion and steer a course through troubled skies.

The five measures are: the spinning off of four non-core units - cargo, catering, engineering and ground-handling services; a leave-without-pay scheme; the shutting down of offline sales and marketing stations; a halt to flying routes where the load factor is below 30 per cent; the restructuring of sister airline Nok Air; and a continued push to sell aircraft and delay new aircraft delivery.

The measures will be tabled for approval by the economic ministers today, said Wallop Bhukkanasut, chairman of THAI's executive board committee, who was in the Malaysian capital to attend an aviation conference.

"Our expenses must be cut by 15 per cent, or roughly Bt12 billion per year, for survival. For now, we've been able to cut expenses by Bt8 billion, so there is a lot more to be done to achieve the target," he said. "The revised plan should help the airline achieve this year's Bt7-billion net profit projection."

The airline posted a first-quarter net profit of Bt7.8 billion, but revenue should drop in the current and third quarters, due to the type-A (H1N1) flu outbreak.

A banker who requested anonymity commented earlier that if all cost-cutting measures were implemented, the airline would recover financially.

Wallop said that due to a series of negative factors, the national carrier expected to take two years to achieve a full recovery. Late this year, there should be a recovery in the tourism sector, but THAI's business growth is likely to be in the range of 3-6 per cent, well below the 10 per cent of previous years, he said.

Wallop said the spin-offs would benefit the carrier in that their combined workforce was nearly 10,000, but the units generates only 5 per cent of the carrier's revenue. In the future, each of these units must finance their investment on their own, and THAI will no longer shoulder any of their losses.

The airline will shelve the planned resumption of its cargo business, due to the global economic crisis, which has led to lower demand from both importers and exporters.


It is also likely to further delay the delivery of Airbus A380s, due to low demand. THAI has already made a pre-delivery payment of Bt300 million to Airbus and is negotiating with the aircraft-maker for an extension to the delivery deadline.

"Buying and selling aircraft is part of the five- to 10-year business plan. In the first five years, THAI expects to spend Bt30 billion to Bt60 billion on new aircraft," said Wallop.

A working committee is studying the legal consequences of THAI delaying or even cancelling purchase of the jumbo jets, as well as the effect of delivery on its liquidity.

To address its liquidity problems, THAI has tapped a Bt5-billion loan from the Government Savings Bank and is negotiating an additional Bt2.5 billion to Bt3 billion in credit from Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 11:05 PM   #460
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THAI to raise fuel surcharge by US$10

By: BangkokPost.com Published: 10/06/2009 at 10:31 AM


Thai Airways International (THAI) will raise its fuel surcharge by US$10 per flight on routes to and from Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The increase will be effective on Friday, THAI executive vice president Pandit Chanapai said on Wednesday.

The increase is in line with the rise in global oil prices, he said.

"I do not believe raising the fuel surcharge will affect the ticket sales of Thai Airways since the increase is not a lot," Mr Pandit said.
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