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April 24, 2024
Thai Airways A350, by Airbus
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Thai Airways International managed to reduce its operating loss for the first nine months of 2021, despite a decline in revenue due to new COVID-19 outbreaks in Thailand, coupled with ongoing international travel restrictions related to the pandemic. Operating loss for the nine month period ended 30 September came in at 21.5 billion baht, a 36.7 year-on-year improvement as compared to 34 billion baht loss for the same period in 2020.

While total revenue plunged 66 percent to 15 billion baht, the decline was partly cushioned by growth in the cargo and other business segments. Revenue from the passenger segment was down 92.2 percent to 2.53 billion baht, while revenue from the cargo segment was up 10.9 percent to 6.44 billion baht. 

Despite the operating loss, Thai Airways managed to post a net profit of 51.1 billion baht for the nine month period. It attributed to factors such as profits gained by selling its stakes in companies such as Thai low-cost operator Nok Air and a fuel supplier company, as well as the sale of buildings and land assets. The carrier also saw gains from its debt restructuring, through adjustments on defaulted interest, derecognition, and adjustment of financial liabilities.

As of 30 September 2021, Thai Airways had 5.44 billion baht in consolidated cash and cash equivalents, down from the 8.67 billion it had on 31 December 2020. 

Both Thai Airways and subsidiary Thai Smile had 103 aircraft on 30 September 2021, including 13 Airbus and Boeing aircraft which had been decommissioned and being put up for sale.

In its outlook, Thai Airways says the COVID-19 recovery trend will vary from country to country, depending on the local epidemiological situation and their vaccination rates. It believes vaccination will be an “important factor” as this will affect the reopening plans set by various countries, and the confidence of travellers.

Following the court approval of its business rehabilitation plan in June, Thai Airways will focus on its full service business model with an eye on generating sustainable profits. In the final months of 2021, Thai is resuming 36 international routes to points in Asia-Pacific and Europe. 

Thai Airways “expected” to seek 25 billion baht in loans: report

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported on 12 November that the carrier “is expected” to seek a 25 billion loan to boost its financial liquidity.

Thailand’s finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith made the comment after the carrier’s business rehabilitation plan administrators met with the country’s prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to update him on Thai’s business rehabilitation.

A decision on the loan mechanism will be decided by the carrier, without the need for Thailand’s finance ministry to provide a guarantee, as Thai Airways lost its state-owned carrier status in May 2020. 

Nevertheless, Thailand is still the carrier’s largest shareholder, with a 48 percent stake.

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Firdaus Hashim

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