Thai Smile-THAI merger 'to cut losses'

Thai Smile-THAI merger 'to cut losses'

Thai Airways International (THAI) Public Company Limited revealed on Friday that Thai Airways is merging Thai Smile Airways with THAI to reduce losses.

It said the plan is expected to be approved by the end of this year.

Piyasvasti Amranand, chairman of THAI's committee overseeing the airline's rehabilitation, said the restructuring had been on the cards for a while and was part of the plan.

"A study about the merger plan is now underway to revise the business plan under a unified strategy management team. We expect this to finish by May.

"Afterwards, the plan will be proposed to a creditors' committee before it is submitted to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, the acting chairman of the civil aviation committee, for approval by year's end," Mr Piyasvasti said at a press conference.

THAI CEO Chai Eamsiri said the plan would simplify the organisation's management and flight timetable to ensure the airline can operate all flights smoothly.

Mr Chai insisted the merger would not impact THAI's rehab plan or airline service, including the more than 800 employees of Thai Smile.

If successful, THAI will see its capacity boosted while the flight operation hours of Thai Smile will be lengthened from nine to around 12-13 per day. This could reduce its budget by 30% and see it rake in more profit this year, he said.

Last year, Thai Smile suffered losses of 4.24 billion baht, with a cumulative loss of more than 20 billion baht.

Mr Chai said THAI and its subsidiary will earn about 140 billion baht in revenue this year, up 30% from 2022, while flight occupancy could climb to 80% as tourism rebounds.

THAI has also resumed more international flights to Europe, Australia, China and Japan, among others.

THAI and its subsidiary operate 64 aircraft in total, 44 of which belong to THAI. This year, THAI plans to rent six Airbus A350s. It will also receive and repair a Boeing 77-200ER, bringing its fleet to 71.

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