Thailand’s national flag carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) said this week that it was planning to sell 42 aircraft by the end of the year as part of its business rehabilitation plan.
Insiders at the company told Thai Enquirer that the measures were just the beginning of difficult cost-cutting measures for the airline’s remaining staff.
THAI had already cut some 4,250 staff members in April this year as part of cost-cutting measures imposed by its rehabilitation board. This was in addition to the roughly ten thousand jobs it had cut since the beginning of the pandemic.
The aircraft sell-off will leave the airline with a fleet of 58 aircraft, according to Chai Iamsiri, the new accountancy executive.
According to a former senior executive at the airline, THAI will likely emerge from the pandemic with fewer routes and less global coverage.
“The Thai Airways of old is dead, this new entity will be streamlined and only focus on very profitable routes,” the executive told Thai Enquirer on Wednesday. “That means prestige routes or historic routes will be cut if they offer no benefit to the company.”
The executive said that staff had also complained of losing privileges like complimentary tickets and benefits due to budget cuts.
“The administrators are walking a fine line between austerity and strikes,” said the executive.
According to Chai, the austerity measures will likely not be enough to keep the company afloat.
“The airline needs to raise an additional 50-billion-baht capital in the next two years by issuing loans from financial institutions, retail creditors, and government support,” he said.
Thai Airways said on Tuesday that it will start selling tickets for international routes on October 1 to some destinations including England, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.
“These countries have high vaccination rates and are ready to open borders,” said Chai.
He added that flights to China will likely resume by next year.