THAI keeps watch on baht

Thai Airways International (THAI) aims to set up a working group to handle currency management, airline president Sorajak Kasemsuvan said yesterday.

Speaking after a THAI board meeting, Mr Sorajak said the currency management team will be established as the airline was concerned about the rapid appreciation of baht.

THAI executives had been instructed to keep a close watch on the baht because up to 70% of the airline's earnings are in foreign currencies, he added.

"THAI has recently been affected by the baht movement, but we cannot say how much," Mr Sorajak said. "We are following the situation closely."

According to the company president, THAI engages in transactions in about 50 currencies. The airline, however, attaches importance specifically to the Japanese yen, the US dollar, the euro and the British pound.

Mr Sorajak said the airline had bought currency forward contracts to avert exchange rate risk.

Mr Sorajak said THAI's cabin factor reached 76.6% in 2012, the highest in five years. This was the result of a worldwide marketing drive, he said.

THAI's net profit last year is expected to exceed its estimate by 700 million baht, Mr Sorajak said.

He declined to give the actual net profit number, saying it will be revealed after the airline has officially informed the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission about the figure.

Mr Sorajak said the airline's revenue target this year is 223 billion baht, with 11% growth.

Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suwanatat yesterday urged THAI to solve the problem of staff shortages, particularly with ground personnel.

The company needs adequate manpower to prevent disruptions to its service, Gen Prin said.

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Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
Position: Reporter