Plan 'last chance' for THAI, warns Prayut

Plan 'last chance' for THAI, warns Prayut

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the financially-ailing Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) will be given one last chance to turn itself around.

Gen Prayut stressed the need for its executives and union members to work together to steer the distressed flag carrier out of its problems, calling it a "matter of life or death" for the company and its employees.

"I gave THAI five years to fix the problems, but it still has not succeeded," he said after a cabinet meeting yesterday.

Gen Prayut said the latest rehabilitation plan will be THAI's last chance to ensure its financial situation does not get worse, before noting that restructuring the national carrier's organisational structure will be a challenge.

THAI first entered business rehabilitation five years ago, as approved by the State Enterprises Policy Committee (SEPC).

While the government seemed committed to helping THAI once more, Gen Prayut said the carrier's rehabilitation plan was not discussed at yesterday's cabinet meeting.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said yesterday the plan was not tabled before yesterday's meeting because the SEPC has yet to send the latest rehabilitation plan to the ministry.

He added the ministry is currently working on a concrete action plan to stop THAI from going under.

The SEPC approved THAI's latest rehabilitation plan last Wednesday.

The committee -- chaired by Gen Prayut -- assigned a financial consultant to work out a recovery blueprint to be submitted to THAI's executive board. Central to the plan is a loan to essentially bail out the company.

A source at Government House said the plan comprises network, fleet, commercial, operation, cost, organisation and portfolio strategies.

The source said the Finance Ministry will guarantee a 50-billion-baht loan to rescue THAI, which is short of the 70-billion-baht loan it had initially sought. Also, THAI will have to renegotiate its debts and cut costs.

The loan will be disbursed in tranches to ensure recovery stays on track.

THAI has suffered huge financial losses for years. According to Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) data, the national carrier posted a net loss of 2.11 billion baht in 2017 -- which grew to 11.6 billion baht in 2018 and 12 billion baht last year.

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