Connect with us


Thai Airways being torn apart from within



Thai Airways being torn apart from within | Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): Although the board of directors at Thai Airways decided to reinstate its president, Apinan Sumanaseni, last week, the national carrier’s internal problems are still far from resolution. Executives and staff members have been divided largely because of internal conflicts that have arisen from criticism of the board’s major decisions.

For instance, THAI will stop direct flights between Bangkok and New York because the national carrier can no longer afford to offer its passengers lower prices than those available from neighbouring airlines, such as Singapore Air, which offers only business seating for its direct flights to New York. Many critics have questioned the huge expense involved in starting the Bangkok-New York route to begin with.

Moreover, staff and union members have challenged the THAI executives’ decision to acquire eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft, at a total cost of 30 billion baht. Opponents of the plan said the acquisition would place a higher burden on THAI’s operating costs. In fact, THAI executives had earlier decided to expand the aircraft fleet through lease contracts, which should have saved costs. But the Samak government decided instead to purchase the eight aircraft outright earlier this year. The union cited this decision as one of the wrong ones made by the board.

The union made the solid argument that, considering the sluggish aviation industry, this purchase of new aircraft was ill-timed, especially when the original decision to acquire the aircraft through leases would have eased the airline’s financial burdens.

THAI staff and executives are divided into two groups: those who support Apinan and those who support executive vice president Norahat Phloiyai, who briefly replaced Apinan as president. The movement against Apinan started some time ago. However, Norahat was not seen as a perfect choice due to his close connections with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The decision of the board to remove and abruptly reinstate Apinan is simply the tip of the iceberg. Ongoing protests reflect the union’s anger toward what they say has been the mismanagement of THAI. And the union does not trust the board. They see hidden motivations behind certain decisions.

The feeling of mistrust inside the organisation has links to the disruption in the selection of a president for the carrier. Apinan was removed but reinstated. Norahat for a brief period – about six hours – replaced Apinan. Local newspapers described the THAI board of directors as uncharacteristically immature and undignified for a national flag carrier.

The underlying issue of the conflict at THAI is staff concerns that the airline’s operations are not based purely on professional considerations. There is the belief that if THAI’s operations are motivated by political influence, then the national carrier’s ability to compete with other airlines in the region would be adversely affected.

Besides, the national carrier cannot accept anything less than genuinely professional management, especially now that oil prices have compounded the difficulties for airlines in general, and in an already fiercely competitive industry.

The board and management at THAI need to sort out their disputes and make the right decisions for the airline without compromising their professional integrity. The incident last week has already tarnished our national carrier’s image at home an abroad. We deserve better than that.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand3 hours ago

Man arrested for spycam porn, 39 videos feature Thai stars

Thailand3 hours ago

Is poor English proficiency holding Thailand back?

Thailand3 hours ago

Shopee stops all bank payments after hackers steal from customer in Thailand

Sponsored11 hours ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | CAAT warns Thai VietJet for canceling three Phuket

Crime4 hours ago

Cat killer feels no guilt over sadistic act

Koh Samui4 hours ago

Koh Samui’s Moving Market – a hidden local treat

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Visa4 hours ago

Thailand’s 10 year LTR visa most popular among Americans and Chinese

Politics5 hours ago

Thailand PM wants to groom successor in two years

Bangkok5 hours ago

VIDEO: Taxi meter rises suspiciously quickly in Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand6 hours ago

Man wins 144 million baht in Thailand’s lottery

Bangkok6 hours ago

Plumber murders and robs Thai woman in Bangkok

Drugs7 hours ago

Man returns for bag with meth pills he left at restaurant

Transport7 hours ago

Porsche sales in Thailand roaring thanks to nation’s entrepreneurs

Visa7 hours ago

Overstay crackdown uses facial recognition tech

Thailand8 hours ago

Father dies trying to save son from teenage gang

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11