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Is The worst really over for Thai Airways ?

Thailand’s national carrier, Thai Airways, was once among the most successful and admired in Asia, but like many other so-called ‘legacy airlines’ Thai is now facing strong headwinds.

Boris Sullivan

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After a five-year austerity drive, Thai Airways International is ready to expand again and “The worst is over” according to an interview of Charamporn Jotikasthira by Bloomberg News.

Thailand’s national carrier, Thai Airways, was once among the most successful and admired in Asia, but like many other so-called ‘legacy airlines’ Thai is now facing strong headwinds.

Indeed THAI has been confronted to a very challenging environment since Charamporn Jotikasthira took the helm in December 2014.

As reported by Bloomberg, the airline’s president Charamporn Jotikasthira confirmed that Thai Airways was drawing up a 10-year plan through 2027 that would see it purchase new aircraft to help cater for increased passenger growth.

Thai Airways now announced new plans to add routes and buy new, more fuel-efficient aircraft to replace ageing jets, President Charamporn Jotikasthira said in an interview in Bangkok on Aug 17.

The airline, which last ordered planes in 2011, is drawing up a 10-year plan through 2027 that will include the aircraft purchases to help boost passenger growth, he said.

In 2014 Thai carried a total of 19.1 million passengers and operated a fleet of a 93 aircraft with 24,952 employees.

Thai also has shareholdings in other associated activities like hotels, airline catering services, aviation fuel supply services, online ticketing system and 100% shares in Thai Smile Airways and a 39.2% holding in Nok Air.

Charamporn’s cost cuts and a decline in oil prices helped Thai Airways return to profit in the first half and have fueled a 191 percent surge in the company’s shares this year, compared with an 11 percent drop for the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Airlines Index. The stock slumped 37 percent in 2015.

The state-controlled carrier made a net loss of 2.92 billion baht for the April-June quarter, versus a 12.8 billion baht loss a year earlier. That compared with the average loss estimate of 2.1 billion baht, according to three analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Thai Airways International Plc cut its losses for the second quarter of 2016 helped by a decline in fuel expenses and gains from an ongoing restructuring programme.

It returned to a profit in the fourth quarter of 2015, shrinking its full-year loss as a restructuring that reduced operating costs and boosted passenger revenues bore fruit.

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