Thai Airways, the national carrier of Thailand, could be on the verge of collapsing according to the alarming comments made by its president Sumeth Damrongchentham. He calls on his employees to participate in rehabilitation efforts.

"Today I want staff to be united to overcome the obstacles. Otherwise, the national airline must close down. There is still time for a solution, but there is not much time," said Sumeth in a letter to Thai Airways’ executives, reports the Bangkok Post.

The carrier said it planned to reduce the salaries of its executives, as well as apply a "zero stock" policy for its catering service. The objective is to reduce costs by 20%.

Thai Airways, part of Star Alliance, recorded in the first half of 2019 a net loss of $212 million, with the cumulative loss reaching $9.2 billion. The reasons given for this financial struggle are the concurrency of low-cost carriers that took over Thai’s leadership on several northern routes which previously accounted for a third of its revenue, but also the exchange rate of the local currency, the baht.

The president did not give any update on Thai’s prospect to acquire 38 new planes to renew the fleet. The plan, which was announced while the company was reporting a $26.2 million net loss over the first quarter of 2019, had raised questions among the staff. Three Boeing 777-300ERs should be leased by the end of 2020.

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Thai Airways’ plan to renew the fleet in the upcoming five years appears to be confusing for company’s staff. Union say employees are puzzled on how 38 new planes would help the airline to recover from $26.2 million net loss in the first three months of 2019 alone.
 

Thai Airways should present a new restructuring plan to the Ministry of Transport next month. It should include a reorganization of the flight schedule. Sumeth denied press reports that routes towards Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar would be affected. The sale of at least 19 older aircraft to reduce maintenance costs will also be presented.

On what happened with the previous restructuring plan:

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Thai Airways states it is fighting back against fierce competition, mellowing economic growth, airport capacity limits, trade wars and other “crises” in a strive to break away from its years-long row of financial losses. Armed with its Rehabilitation Plan, the airline aims to reach an “aggressive profitability” in the upcoming few years, but stakeholders appear not to be convinced that the plans are realizable.