Thai Airways president quit because 'mission was over'

Thai Airways president quit because 'mission was over'

Thai Airways International president Sumet Damrongchaitham resigned during the board meeting on Thursday. His resignation takes effect on April 11. (Bangkok Post photo)
Thai Airways International president Sumet Damrongchaitham resigned during the board meeting on Thursday. His resignation takes effect on April 11. (Bangkok Post photo)

Thai Airways International Plc's (THAI) outgoing president Sumeth Damrongchaitham said he decided to resign after "those in power" told him that he was done with his mission.

He said on Friday he had tendered his resignation to pave the way for the THAI board to find a more appropriate replacement who can follow the board's policy.

"We were here on a mission. When those in power said that you're finished, so we had to go. And we already know what's going on," Mr Sumeth said.

He said that even if there had been no Covid-19 outbreak, THAI still could not afford to remain the way it is as the national flag carrier.

He said when he became THAI president, he had plans to work with THAI staff to turn around the loss-ridden airline, though unfortunately THAI was constantly plagued with crises last year.

Mr Sumeth assumed the post of THAI president in September, 2018 and submitted his resignation on Wednesday, effective from April 11. His tenure as THAI president will have lasted 18 months.

Nares Phuangyaem, president of THAI's labour union, questioned why the THAI board had not rejected Mr Sumeth's resignation. Mr Nares said a change of THAI president during a period of uncertainty will leave the organisation directionless.

Mr Nares also said that the union believed Mr Sumeth was forced to quit under pressure stemming from the government's lack of support for his plans to rehabilitate THAI and purchase new aircraft.

Mr Sumeth is one of two high-profile executives in the aviation industry to quit amid speculation that their decisions were linked to the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Wg Cdr Suthirawat Suwanawat, general manager of Suvarnabhumi airport, also resigned on Wednesday to take responsibility for Thai returnees from South Korea slipping through the screening process.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said that he had not yet approved Wg Cdr Suthirawat's resignation, and that he would discuss details with him shortly.


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