Thai Airways still weighed down by losses

The crowds at Suvarnabhumi Airport have not translated into better prospects for Thailand's national carrier, which has been trying unsuccessfully to stem its losses in recent months.

Weakened by years of mismanagement and battered by competition from budget carriers, Thai Airways recorded 15.6 billion baht (S$616 million) in losses last year, a figure that has already been surpassed in the first nine months of this year.

Airline president Charamporn Jotikasthira attributes some of the losses to the hits the airline had to take while trimming overheads by cancelling routes and laying off some of its more than 20,000 employees.

But "there is still a lot of fat in the system", he said during a recent address to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.

Generous incentives for management were the first to get the chop soon after Thailand's post-coup government started scrutinising state enterprises.

Board members stopped receiving their annual perk of 10 free return tickets on the airline's international routes.

Thai Airways owns 11 different types of aircraft, which makes operations unduly complicated. It is now trying to pare down its fleet and is considering offering other airlines the services of its maintenance staff to raise revenue, said Mr Charamporn.

Tan Hui Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2015, with the headline 'Thai Airways still weighed down by losses'. Print Edition | Subscribe