Thai Airways executive says rehabilitation to be completed sooner than planned

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Thailand’s national flag carrier, Thai Airways International Plc (THAI), may require less time than expected to fully resume operations after debt rehabilitation, the airline’s executive said on Tuesday. 

Chai Eamsiri, the airline chief financial officer, said that “the operating results have improved as the current Covid-19 pandemic situation subsides.” 

However, Chai did not specify when the rehabilitation process will be completed. The airline initially planned to restructure its business over a seven-year period.

The airline also plans to sell its overseas assets worth around 2 billion baht, and will secure up to 25 billion baht of credit from financial institutions to boost liquidity in the near future, according to Chai. 

The aviation industry was on the brink of collapse for the past two years due to a ban on air travel imposed after early waves of the Covid-19 outbreak ravaged the world.

In May 2020, Thai Airways was the first to file a petition for business restructuring with the Central Bankruptcy Court. The court accepted the restructuring plans a year later in June 2021, after undergoing multiple reviews from creditors.

Thai Airways was already in financial trouble prior to the epidemic, with yearly losses of more than 10 billion baht. In 2020, the airline’s losses mounted to 141 billion.

However, under rehabilitation plans, it booked profits of 55 billion baht in 2021, driven by gains from debt restructuring and asset sales. The most recent financial results of Thai Airways show losses of 3.2 billion in the first quarter of this year. 

Thai Airways stock has been suspended from trading as the airline undergoes a corporate restructuring.

The airline will begin four flights a week between Bangkok and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from August 19 to strengthen relations between the two nations following diplomatic restoration and to boost Thailand’s key tourism sector.

“Earnings are expected to keep recovering,” Chai added. 

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