During dinner with Bangkok Post reporters in May 2001, Thaksin Shinawatra, then prime minister, said Thai Airways International's service "sucked" and if he were not a public figure, he would not fly with the national carrier.
Since then, Mr Thaksin has sent his aides to sit on THAI's board and high-ranking executives to control the airline's decision-making process in all areas including opening new routes and buying new aeroplanes.
British consultancy Skytrax, based on a global passenger survey, named THAI as the second-best airline in the world in 2007. But THAI slipped to ninth in 2012 and out of the top 10 in 2013, while its main rival, Singapore Airlines, was successful in keeping its place in the top three from 2000-13.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.