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New lease on life for 7 of Thailand’s budget airlines

Jack Burton

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New lease on life for 7 of Thailand’s budget airlines | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PM Prayut Chano-cha - The Straits Times
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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha today threw a lifeline to 7 of Thailands’ domestic low-cost airlines, beginning with the injection of 24 billion baht in soft loans for the struggling aviation sector, battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Representatives of Thai Air Asia, its long haul division Thai Air Asia X, Thai Smile, Thai Lion Air, Thai Viet Jet, Bangkok Airways and Nok Air met with the PM at Government House this morning to air their grievances and to submit their request for aid.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said after the meeting that the 7 carriers responded to the government’s request to retain their roughly 20,000 staff through the Covid crisis, despite that their business is severely limited by travel restrictions and a near-total ban on foreign arrivals. He said the soft loans, which will be available starting in October, should keep the troubled airlines afloat for about another year.

Concerning the airlines’ proposal to extend the period of reduced excise tax on aviation fuel, due to expire at the end of September, Anucha said the administration is assessing the situation, noting that the government has already rolled out the “We Tour Together” programme to support the tourism industry.

He did say, however, that the government has agreed to extend the 50% cut in landing and take-off charges, to the end of March next year, as well as aircraft storage fees, which are due to expire at the end of this year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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