Sorajak to return glory to Thai Airways

The new Thai Airways International chief hopes to bring back glory for the flag carrier by the time he walks away from the position.

"I want to bring back glory to THAI to make it an airline everybody will be proud of,'' Sorajak Kasemsuvan said on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post.

Mr Sorajak admitted there are problems plaguing the airline -- including complaints about seats, food and other services -- but said it will all  be tackled in his tenure in his efforts to keep THAI competitive with its rivals.

"I have only two years and four months (in this position),'' he said. However, the goal was realistic and it needed determination from all staff to make it achievable, he added.

Thai Airways International president Sorajak Kasemsuvan.

Mr Sorajak was appointed president last month after the airline sacked Piyasvasti Amranand in June.

He took the position at a time of economic downturn in Europe - one of the airline's major markets -  and the United States.

The new airline president admitted it wouldbe challenging to make THAI profitable again, but said the delivery of new planes, improvements in seating and a plan to bolster revenue from online ticket sales offered the firm business benefits.

The airline is due to receive 17 new aircraft next year, including four A380s, as part of it plannned  modernisation of its fleet and phasing out of old aircraft.

"We must grab this opportunity to boost sales,'' he added.

He has set a profit target of five billion baht for the airline next year.

Mr Sorajak is banking on more aggressive promotion of ticket sales on the Internet to help drive revenue next year in order to generate profits. The state-owned enterprise has targeted revenue of 224 billion baht - a 12% increase - next year.

Direct sales account for 9% of THAI's revenue and the airline hoped to push it to at least 15% in the future by improving online services.

"Traditionally, we rely on ticket sales through agents but we will open ourselves more to the online sales,'' he added.

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Writer: Saritdet Marukatat
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