The first three months of 2019 did not start well for Thai Airways, which, together with five of its subsidiaries, recorded operating net loss of $26.2 million (828 million Baht) in 1Q2019. By contrast, the airline registered $121 million (3,8 billion Baht) profit at the same time last year.
Among the negative factors in the economic environment, the carrier points out to both global and domestic slowdown of economic growth, more intense competition after the red flag removal from ICAO, especially from low-cost airlines. Airport capacity limits, trade wars, and “other crises” remain risk factors in 2019.
On the positive side, Thailand has benefited from government initiatives to attract foreign tourists, for instance, visa on arrival exemption, a statement by the carrier reads. The country is also recovering from Phuket boat incident in July 2018, and the number of Chinese tourists is picking up, Thai Airways observe.
Meanwhile, other airlines in Thailand also post slump in profitability.
On May 13, 2019, Nok Airlines revealed suffering a $12.4 million (391.29 million Baht) net loss in the 1Q2019, which ballooned from $37 K (1.18 million Baht) in the same quarter in 2018. Thai Airways is a shareholder of the low-cost carrier. However, since January 2019, Thai Airways has cutback on Nok Air shares. Having previously owned 21.80% shares of the low-cost carrier, the company now has 15.94%.
As for competitors, Bangkok Airways, a full-service carrier, remained profitable but reported a 29% net profit drop in the first quarter of 2019. The company finished the quarter with approximately $16 million (510.8 million Baht) versus $ 22.7 million (719.3 million Baht) the previous year.