Thai Airways still in holding pattern after cabinet meeting

Thai Airways still in holding pattern after cabinet meeting

Thai Airways International aircraft are seen parked at Suvarnabhumi airport after most of the fleet was grounded last year. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Thai Airways International aircraft are seen parked at Suvarnabhumi airport after most of the fleet was grounded last year. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The cabinet remained split over the status of Thai Airways International ahead of a key meeting of creditors to decide the airline's rehabilitation plan, a source at Government House said on Wednesday.

The question of whether the ailing carrier should return as a state enterprise was high on the cabinet meeting's agenda. 

The source said Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow and Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith favoured once again making THAI a state enterprise to increase creditors' confidence and give the airline a better bargaining position with them.

They called for a quick decision as the key talks with creditors were drawing near, the source added.

The creditors will vote on the rehabilitation plan during the May 12 meeting.

THAI lost its status as a state-owned company last year after the Finance Ministry cut its majority stake to help the rehab plan move forward.

The source said some cabinet ministers opposed the state once again holding the majority stake in the carrier because the government would be forced to guarantee its future loans.

"If Thai Airways International is to return as a state enterprise, it is essential to inform the public because the cabinet previously approved the end of that status for the airline," the source reported one cabinet member saying.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the Transport and Finance Ministries to study the issue further before the next cabinet meeting.

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