Solution to THAI woes 'in 2 months'

Solution to THAI woes 'in 2 months'

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has okayed airlines' decision to scale back flights or stop flying due to the Covid-19 outbreak. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has okayed airlines' decision to scale back flights or stop flying due to the Covid-19 outbreak. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The Finance and Transport ministries have pledged to work together to find a solution within two months to turn ailing Thai Airways International (THAI) around, according to finance permanent secretary Prasong Poontaneat.

Mr Prasong said the ministries are well aware of the extent of the problems faced by the national carrier stemming from its financial crisis and which have been aggravated by the Covid-19 outbreak.

He said the Finance Ministry was ready to help rescue THAI and see to its recovery as soon as possible.

The permanent secretary said the ministries would discuss rescue measures and finalise the issue within two months.

To ease the liquidity crunch, the practical solution would be to either recapitalise the airline or procure loans to sustain its operations.

However, how the Covid-19 situation unfolds will have a bearing on how measures will be tailored, Mr Prasong said.

"We need to do our homework carefully before we decide on measures [to assist THAI]," the finance permanent secretary said.

"It's crucial to assess developments in the Covid-19 outbreak and how long it will last."

This week, THAI announced it was to suspend all international flights and close its overseas offices in light of the intensifying global coronavirus crisis.

Chakkrit Parapuntakul, the national carrier's acting president, said THAI was not able to fly to many countries because of border closures, which has caused passenger traffic to dry up.

The airline, already in financial dire straits, decided the best option was to curtail most flights to stop losses.

THAI has now cancelled all flights in the Asia-Pacific region (except Cambodia) starting from today, and will suspend all Europe routes from April 1.

The cancellations will last until May 30, according to information released by THAI offices in Singapore and Vietnam.

This decision made on Wednesday's flights to and from countries such as Singapore and Vietnam the carrier's last flights there until May 30.


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