Exim Bank touts life support for airlines

Exim Bank touts life support for airlines

Aircraft of Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International are parked at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Aircraft of Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International are parked at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Export-Import (Exim) Bank of Thailand has provided financial assistance to local airlines totalling more than 6.2 billion baht to increase their liquidity and restructure their debt, says bank president Rak Vorrakitpokatorn.

He said the financial aid includes the suspension of loan repayments and debt rescheduling, with a total debt value of 3.5 billion baht.

These relief measures are in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has adversely impacted the tourism sector.

The bank also provided loans of 2.7 billion baht to the local airlines to boost their liquidity and retain employment.

Late last year the Thai tourism industry improved as more people travelled, especially during November and December.

Mr Rak said Exim Bank has been closely monitoring the pandemic situation in the early part of this year to see if the number of infections is rising and whether that is affecting people's travels.

The bank uses this information to assess how much financial assistance to offer its clients, he said.

Mr Rak said state-run banks have to continue supporting virus-hit businesses so they can maintain operations during the pandemic.

These businesses need to be reinforced so they can drive the economy after the end of the pandemic, he said.

A Finance Ministry source who requested anonymity said Exim Bank had set aside financial assistance of around 20 billion baht for the aviation sector.

When considering whether to help local airlines, the bank will prioritise those with plans to retain staff, said the source.

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