Airlines post hefty losses in first half

Airlines post hefty losses in first half

Bangkok Airways's total revenue was 2.8 billion baht for the first six months of 2021 — down 61.8% year-on-year.
Bangkok Airways's total revenue was 2.8 billion baht for the first six months of 2021 — down 61.8% year-on-year.

Airlines experienced first-half losses and only expect a modest improvement during the remainder of the year as a ban on domestic flights has worsened the pace of recovery in air travel.

Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways, said the lack of international flights and adjustment of domestic operations to meet travel demand caused its revenue to drop 88.8% in the first six months of this year.

The airline reported total revenue of 2.8 billion baht, down 61.8% year-on-year.

Even though the airline squeezed its net loss to 1.45 billion baht from 3.33 billion during the same period last year, the number of passengers dropped 81.8% to 245,900, while average load factor was at 58.4%.

Mr Puttipong said the firm, which operates airport-related businesses, terminated the long-term lease agreement with the Samui Airport Property Fund under the remaining leasehold rights at 15.5 years after the airline's board of directors' approval in May.

He said Bangkok Airways can operate Samui airport in a more flexible manner without any obligations to the fund.

In terms of U-Tapao International Airport, which is an aviation project that Bangkok Airways as one of the BBS consortium members has been developing under U-tapao International Aviation Co, the firm submitted a master plan to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) for further approval in June.

"The new outbreak in April directly impacted operation in May and June. The airline had to adjust flight frequencies amid the outbreak to preserve cash flow," said Santisuk Klongchaiya, chief executive of Thai AirAsia (TAA).

TAA's revenue during the first half of this year plummeted 75% to 2.43 billion baht, while its net loss increased to 3.56 billion baht from 1.81 billion the previous year.

The number of passengers stood at 1.7 million, down 65% as the average load factor was at 64%.

He said the second half will see a slight improvement in the operation as the severe pandemic and sluggish vaccination triggered the CAAT to impose travel restrictions on domestic flights from July 21.

TAA has suspended operation to comply with the CAAT's announcement from July 12 until Aug 31.

Mr Santisuk said the airline has to shift its plan to the non-aero business to offer various products and services via the AirAsia super app in which AirAsia Group acquired Gojek's operations in Thailand last month.

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