Thai Airways refunds possible, reorganisation approved

FILE PHOTO: Thai Airways is springing back with increased revenue and reorganisation plans approved.

Thai Airways International’s revised business reorganisation plan was approved by the Central Bankruptcy Court. The plan was submitted last month and the airline will now start on a course of financial restructuring. Does this mean everyone waiting for a refund from the Covid-19 pandemic and before Thailand’s flagship airline declared bankruptcy will finally get their money back?

It is reported that part of the deal reached on Thursday with the bankruptcy court was to begin refunding customers who bought tickets before Thai Airways moved in May of this year to file bankruptcy. But don’t start your shopping spree yet, the refunds are expected to be finished by the end of January 2024. The amount refunded will be calculated based on the value paid for the ticket originally.

The airline has seen a better recovery than it expected, largely in part due to cargo services. Since Covid restrictions eased and borders reopen, passenger and cargo traffic has steadily increased, supporting improved financial and operational performance. Thai Airways now has a cash flow of around 20 billion baht. In January the airline was carrying just 2,092 passengers per day. But today they’re averaging 17,554.

The Ministry of Finance and other creditors for the airline have approved the restructuring plan that the bankruptcy court just gave the green light to. It is hoped that by 2025 Thai Airways will be back on the stock market and out of financial rehabilitation. They will hire a financial advisor to nail down a debt-to-equity conversion recapitalisation over the next two years of about 25 billion baht, about half of the previous goal.

Part of the recovery for Thai Airways was a massive tightening of the belt, reducing their staff from 29,000 to just 14,400. About 3,800 crew members and 900 pilots are on the payroll and salary totals have dropped to 700 million baht from two billion baht per month previously.

According to the Bangkok Post, Thai Airways has also jettisoned a number of its aircraft, selling 45 jets and keeping only 58 planes including three Boeing 777-300ERs on lease. Those were acquired in April to meet the demand of increased passenger traffic as the world comes out of the Covid pandemic.

Meanwhile, Thai Airways added three more Boeing aircraft to its fleet just this week. Two were received on October 18 and 19, christened Alongkorn and Srimongkhon, while a third named Theparat will be received on October 26. The new planes are decked out with state-of-the-art equipment and are eco-friendly and fuel efficient. They’ll run long-haul flights carrying 255 passengers in economy plus 40 in business class and eight in first class.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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