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Thai Airways at risk of closure, president says

Thai Airways at risk of closure, president says

Thai Airways International (THAI) president Sumeth Damrongchaitham said on Tuesday that staff must cooperate with the airline’s rehabilitation efforts because it is in a crisis and faces possible closure.

He sent his message to THAI executives during a training session at the airline’s headquarters.

“Today I want staff to be united to overcome the obstacles. Otherwise, the national airline must close down. There is still time for a solution, but there is not much time,” Mr. Sumeth said.

He said that THAI had lost its market leadership on several routes to competitors, citing northern routes that had generated a third of THAI’s revenue but were now dominated by low-cost airlines.

“The competition is very fierce this year,” Mr. Sumeth said. “THAI is really in a crisis. Next year it must do its best. If staff are still unaware and do nothing, they will not have enough time to fight back. Today very little time remains. Today there is no comfort zone. Everyone will die if the vessel sinks,”.

THAI would cut costs by reducing the salaries of managerial staff and following a zero inventory policy at its catering department, he said.

“There will be no other rewards for the staff because the top prize is the survival of the company,” Mr. Sumeth said.

In the first half of this year, THAI posted a loss of 6.44 billion baht, raising its accumulated loss to 280 billion baht. It employs more than 20,000 people.