THAI loses duty-free privilege

THAI loses duty-free privilege

Thai Airways International planes are seen at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Thai Airways International planes are seen at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The cabinet has cancelled privileges granted to Thai Airways International (THAI) giving it the right to operate duty-free shops at Don Mueang airport without winning a formal bidding process now the airline has lost its state enterprise status, it was announced on Tuesday.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said the cabinet has revoked a cabinet resolution passed on Feb 6, 1973 that afforded THAI the exemption as a state enterprise.

The revocation was also made because THAI has moved its flight operations to Suvarnabhumi airport, she said.

The loss of the prestigious status follows the Finance Ministry's decision to reduce its majority shareholding last year in preparation for the airline's debt restructuring.

THAI reportedly subcontracted its right to run the duty-free concession at the airport, at the time the country's main aviation gateway, to other firms. However, it retained a number of souvenir shops.

In September, 2018, the Ombudsman formally requested Airports of Thailand (AoT) to review the Feb 6, 1973 cabinet resolution.

In 1993, retail giant, King Power, took over the duty-free concession at Don Mueang which is due to expire at the end of September next year.

Two companies bought envelopes for the next contract but only one, King Power, submitted a bid and will continue to run duty-free at the airport until March 31, 2033.

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