BANGKOK (NNT) – Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Thai Smile Airways have received approval from the Thai Airways Creditors Committee for their merger.

According to THAI CEO Chai Eamsiri, the committee’s decision, made as part of the parent company’s restructuring plan, was finalized on May 18.

As a result of the merger, Thai Smile’s fleet of 20 aircraft will be transferred to THAI this year. This move is expected to reduce operational costs by up to 20% and increase daily flight hours by 11. The fleet currently leased by Thai Smile was originally obtained from THAI.

THAI anticipates that the consolidation will lead to improved utilization rates for its aircraft. Thai Smile currently operates with an average of only 9 flight hours per day, while THAI’s average stands at 12-13 flight hours per day. By integrating Thai Smile’s Airbus A320 aircraft into its fleet, THAI aims to increase its daily aircraft utilization by 11 flight hours.

Chai explained that the increased utilization will allow THAI to expand its coverage of domestic and international routes, extend its night-time flight hours, and reduce operational costs by up to 20%.

THAI said it will inform the Stock Exchange of Thailand about the development and initiate the process of transferring the management rights of the 20 aircraft. Notifications will also be sent to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Transport.

The merger is seen as a strategic move to help the struggling THAI recover from its massive debt and losses, which were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. THAI filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020 and underwent a court-supervised rehabilitation process. Thai Smile Airways, which was launched in 2012 as a regional wing of THAI, has been performing better than its parent company, but still faces challenges in the competitive low-cost market.

The merger is also expected to benefit the customers and employees of both airlines, as well as the tourism sector in Thailand. The new airline will offer more choices and flexibility for travelers, as well as enhanced service quality and safety standards. The employees of both airlines will be integrated into a unified workforce with clear career paths and opportunities. The tourism sector will also benefit from the increased connectivity and capacity of the new airline, which will support the recovery of the industry after the pandemic.

Information and Source

National News Bureau :

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