Thai Airways to drastically cut staff and fleet size by 2025

Pawarin Prapukdee /

Thai Airways aims to drastically cut its staff and fleet size in order to become a more efficient airline, according to its recovery plan.

On March 2, 2021, Chansin Treenuchagron, the President of Thai Airways, announced that the flag carrier of Thailand planned to reduce the number of employees to 13,000 to 15,000 workers by 2025. The airline has already cut its workforce to 19,500 employees in comparison to 28,000 workers in pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The air carrier is also considering additional 6,000 staff leaves by the end of 2021. The announcement comes after Thai Airways’ decision to cut 240 management positions and reduce supervisory levels in the company.

In addition to staff reduction, Thai Airways plans to reduce its fleet size from 103 to 86 jets by 2025, operating only five aircraft types, down from the current 12 jet types. 

The air carrier’s decision is a part of crucial measures which should help the ailing airline to cut costs and become more efficient. The planned reductions are outlined in the recently submitted Thai Airways recovery plan. The plan still has to be approved by the airline’s creditors as well as the Central Bankruptcy Court of Thailand.

“Thai Airways faced problems from intense competition from low budget carriers, open skies policies, and then the global pandemic,” Treenuchagron said during a briefing in Bangkok.

Thai Airways suffered a record loss of $4.66 billion in FY 2020, its financial performance results showed. The airline has been trying to sell its 10 Boeing 747 passenger planes to mitigate the COVID-19 consequences. In February 2021, rumors spread that the aircraft sale was part of a plan to modernize the fleet and replace sold or decommissioned airplanes with new ones by the end of 2025. However, Thai Airways denied rumors regarding the aircraft purchase.

The air carrier also has plans to sell off its training facility in Bangkok, shares in Bangkok Aviation Fuel Services, and its budget arm Nok Airlines. The company is undergoing a bankruptcy-protected recovery.


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