Calls come for major THAI overhaul

Calls come for major THAI overhaul

A Thai Airways International plan is seen at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A Thai Airways International plan is seen at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Calls are being made to radically restructure Thai Airways International (THAI) following the Finance Ministry's bailout pledge to the financially troubled national carrier.

In her Facebook, Chamsri Sukchotrat, former president of the THAI union, called on Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha as chairman of the State Enterprise Policy Committee (SEPC) to consider drastic measures to reform the airline.

She called for the entire board to be replaced for being unable to solve the airline's staggering debt problem.

A future board should be limited to no more than nine members who are experts in aviation and related businesses, she said.

Ms Chamsri also suggested that "specialists" appointed to the board by the Finance Ministry, the airline's largest shareholder currently with a 51% stake, be removed as most are unqualified.

She added that executive vice president positions should be dropped in favour of making vice presidents the highest-ranking executives who report directly to the airline president.

The airline's key business units such as catering, cargo, ground operations and aircraft maintenance should become separate entities to enable flexible management and boost revenue generation.

In addition, the airline should work towards having fewer aircraft types, which would save on maintenance and manpower costs.

Ms Chamsri said ticket sales through agents must stop as it means some revenue does not go to the airline. Online ticket sales must be expanded.

The former union president also suggested policies be introduced to promote good governance to achieve corruption-free organisational management. "If doubts still linger over the airline's transparency, the goal of restoring the company's prestige will never be fulfilled," she said.

The Finance Ministry is now expected to guarantee a loan worth 50 billion baht to rescue the national carrier after the SEPC on Wednesday asked a financial consultant to come up with a rehabilitation blueprint for the THAI board.

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