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Thai Airways employee union push against forming a new airline



FILE PHOTO: Thai Airways employee union argue that saving their airline is the best solution.

Plans to create a new national airline to replace the struggling Thai Airways are meeting oppositions from the employee union. The union insists that Thai Airways is a known brand worldwide and has contributed significantly to the economy of Thailand and deserves aid and rehabilitation.

In the past, Thailand’s flagship international airline spent years as a state-owned property until the Thai Ministry of Finance reduced it’s majority stake to only 47% in 2020. The Finance Minister says that they are not discussing taking over Thai Airways as a government-owned carrier again. So the future of the airline will depend on the current long list of creditors.

Formed in cooperation with Scandinavian Airlines in 1960 to create Thailand’s first international airline, The government eventually bought out SAS. But now the Finance Ministry reduced their ownership in order to make Thai Airways eligible for debt rehabilitation. The airline is now seeking assistance through the Central Bankruptcy Court to help with the over 300 billion baht of debt the airline is currently holding.

The workers union has been pushing the government not to give up on the distressed airline, and to support debt-restructuring in hopes that Thai Airways can surge back after Covid-19 stronger than ever. The union argues that while the industry outlook is still bleak during the pandemic, the airline can still cut operating costs, streamline operations, and focus on profit-generating sectors of the business. Ground services, cargo logistics, and aircraft repair can still generate revenue and help Thai Airways fight to stay afloat.

The union argues that pulling the plug on Thai Airways and forming a new national airline would be counterproductive as the airline industry during the pandemic would not allow a new company to thrive.

The International Air Transport Association has predicted a global loss of about 1.47 trillion baht (US $47.7 billion) for the airline industry this year. This is actually an improvement over last year’s losses of nearly 4 trillion baht (US $126.4 billion) at the global peak of Covid-19 lockdowns. While an estimated 2.4 billion people are expected to fly this year, with government travel restrictions and tight border controls, a further US $81 billion in losses are still predicted for the airline industry.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. 00agent

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Nothing can be as unsafe as a national airline. The only possible worse thing is when govts do things that cause business to lose money which leads to cost cutting which leads to safety issues. Govt is not the solution. It never is. Free markets are the answer to every problem of this world, but govt and media(CIA) will never allow you to think this.

  2. Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    Of course the workers do not want the government to give up on the distressed airline. They want to keep their jobs.
    And as long as Thai Airways are involved in this fake bankruptcy scheme they do not have to pay their debts.
    Meanwhile, the management and the employees pick the Thai Airways corpse clean to the end, and the persons who paid for flights never allowed, receive nothing but insincerity and endless delays.
    These Thais are acting like a gang of bank robbers arguing over the share out of the loot.

  3. Rick

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    10 billion $ in debt?
    Abandon all hope..

  4. Alavan

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    ” Free markets are the answer to every problem of this world, but govt and media(CIA) will never allow you to think this.”
    Funny that free market is the answer, but when sh*t hits the fan, like the banking crisis, Covid or any other crisis, gouvernments have to intervene to safe the free market.

  5. Ben

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    The union is a big part of the problem. They’re advocating saving the airline to save union jobs and benefits. Those jobs and benefits have bloated the airline and made it unsalvageable. They can’t compete with the newer low cost airlines so any money put into rehabilitating this airline is good money chasing after bad.

    Ask them if they’re willing to participate in the necessary job cuts and salary and benefit reductions? They answer will be no.

    An example of a bloated benefit is some retirees receive free flight benefits world-wide. Crazy.

  6. James Pate

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 6:50 am

    Thai Airways: Suicide by greed. In addition to greedy labor, greedy management and lack of shareholder (Finance Ministry) oversight played their parts too. Air Asia was the final nail in the already prepared coffin.

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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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