Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) is not at risk of shutting down and recent news reports about the airline’s situation were “misinterpreted”, THAI president Sumeth Damrongchaitham insisted on Wednesday.
He was responding to media reports about a possible closure during remarks he made to high-ranking THAI staff.
He said the remarks were to encourage staff to make an all-out effort to ensure the struggling airline’s rehabilitation plan succeeds.
Mr Sumeth said the remarks made during a discussion with executives on Tuesday were “misinterpreted” as meaning the airline faced possible closure.
The discussion took place during a training session at the airline’s headquarters to remind them of the level of competition in the aviation industry.
He rejected the possibility of the flag carrier closing down, but admitted having to battle stiff competition, including from low-cost carriers.
With competition in the airline industry becoming more fierce, he said he had emphasised the importance and urgent need to overcome obstacles confronting the airline.
THAI staff were urged to take heed of how competitive the airline is in all areas of business, such as low-cost carrier competition, air fare promotions, and “cut throat” route competition in certain markets.
“THAI confirms it is perfectly capable to perform exceptionally amid tough airline competition,” he said in a statement issued by the airline.
Mr Sumeth said he spoke to staff in order to motivate them to take immediate action to cut costs and boost profits.
“In an era when customers have so many offers to hand amid fierce airline competition, employees were asked to join forces and work to beat the competition for the inevitable achievement of improved operational results,” he said.
He also dismissed media reports that the airline was looking to stop flying to four destinations within the Asean region.
THAI has no plan to drop any routes, he said.
THAI is the national carrier and a state enterprise under the Transport Ministry.
According to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the Finance Ministry is the largest shareholders with a 51.03% stake in the airline together with the state-run Vayupak Fund which holds another 15.16%.