Thai Airways Chairman Ekniti Nitithanprapas has resigned from the board of directors, the airline corporate secretariat letter dated November 1, 2019, reveals. Nitithanprapas is temporarily replaced by vice chairman Chaiyapruk Didyasarin, who took up the role two weeks ago, on October 16, 2019. 

Thai Airways 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. In the first half of 2019, the national carrier of Thailand recorded a net loss of $212 million, with the cumulative loss reaching $9.2 billion.

In 2018, after years of losses, the airline began implementing the Company’s Rehabilitation Plan 2018 with the aim to achieve profitable business performance and improved service quality for higher customer satisfaction. 

As part of the plan, the airline previously intended to add 38 aircraft, a mix of narrow-body and wide-body jets, estimated to be worth $5.13 billion, but the plan was rejected by the airline’s board in September 2019. 

In October 2019, Thailand’s Deputy Transport Minister has reportedly asked to revamp the financial rehabilitation plan and submit a new business plan within 30 days. Thai Airways is expected to present a new restructuring plan to the Ministry of Transport in November 2019.

In the same month, the airline had to dispel reports of liquidity problems after its president Sumeth Damrongchentham’s statements to employees had led many to believe the company was threatened by bankruptcy. In an official statement, Thai Airways claimed its president’ messages were “misconstrued” and assured its “capability to perform exceptionally amidst tough airline competition”. 

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Alarming statements made by Thai Airways president Sumeth Damrongchentham to his employees had led many to believe the company was threatened by bankruptcy. The national carrier of Thailand issued a statement in which it claims the comments were intended to warn employees about the industry’s competitive environment.