After posting its biggest annual loss since 2008 last year, Thai Airways International is expected to post another “significant loss” this year. As part of an extensive recovery plan, the state-controlled carrier will be forced to sell aircraft, reduce flights and drop unprofitable routes to a number of European destinations in order to return to profitability by 2016.
This comes after “significant safety concerns” raised by the International Civil Aviation Organization have Thai airlines face bans on new flights to a number of foreign countries, for example, Japan and Korea.
The Bangkok Post quotes the THAI president as saying this week in an interview:
It will be another tough year for Thai Airways in 2015, as the company is implementing a painful recovery programme.
Thailand’s national carrier, which has posted annual losses over the past two years and has seen its stocks plunge by 25% this year, would initially sell 42 ageing aircraft, reduce its fleet to about 77 planes, and “substantially” trim operating costs, the THAI president said.
Thai Airways would reportedly also stop unprofitable routes to some European cities like Madrid and Moscow, reduce flights to cities like London in order to shift capacity to flights in Asia, and close its air cargo business.
The only sign of an upward trend for THAI at the moment seems to be that the state-controlled airline has “filled about 75% of its seats in the first quarter of 2015, compared with about 69% in the October-December period” of 2014.
The picture embedded above was taken by a friend in mid-November 2014 just before take-off on a THAI flight from Bangkok to Copenhagen. “Lucky, not many passengers,” he ironically commented on his Facebook post.