Ministry grills Thai Airways over B156bn aircraft purchase
The Transport Ministry wants the loss-ridden Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) to provide clear details of all aspects of its 156 billion-baht plan to buy or lease 38 new aircraft, to ensure the airline will not suffer any further losses.
Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam said that in the past the national carrier did not follow investment principles which require planning to precede buying. He said THAI had failed in this manner before which caused it to operate at a loss.
He said that he has no objections to its hire-purchase plan for the first three aircraft if THAI can show that its revenue will be greater than expenses.
Mr Thaworn said he wanted THAI to provide all aspects of the investment plan including market analysis, customer behaviour, goals, details on flight routes, operational costs and revenue projection, as well as aircraft utilisation.
He insisted that the leasing process must be open to all bidders to ensure THAI will get the best possible offer.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said THAI president Sumeth Damrongchaitham had assured him that the airline's plan to buy or lease 38 new aircraft will not add a burden to stretched state budgets because the company will seek its own loans and will be responsible for its own financial risk.
Mr Saksayam said he stressed the need for THAI to buy aircraft that meet international standards to boost its competitiveness against other carriers.
He said the airline plans to buy aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing to prevent any problems which may arise and affect its operations if either of the two manufacturers fails to deliver the aircraft on schedule.