Thai Airways planes stand idle today as ministers form a ‘survival team’ to save the beleaguered airline from bankruptcy.
Footage shows the grounded fleet at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok which has been eerily quiet since the pandemic escalated in March.
The loss-making flag carrier had been haemorrhaging cash before the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and has since seen the revenue it was making decimated due to the country’s tourism ban.
Bankruptcy courts accepted a debt rehabilitation plan on May 27 which prevents creditors - from countries including the UK, U.S. and Germany - from reclaiming losses.
Officials yesterday (July 9) formed a ‘Survival Team’ tasked with putting together a business plan to save the struggling airline from going under - causing embarrassment fate for the country's government.
Acting airline president Chansin Treenuchagron has ordered the team of 21 executives to start immediately, according to the Bangkok Post.
The survival plan will be given to Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court on Aug 17, a day before the court is scheduled to decide whether to admit the airline's rehab case.
Despite coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Thailand being eased and businesses returning to normal, international tourist arrivals have been banned since March 22 with no indication as to when borders will re-open to the lucrative industry.
Ministers also this week scotched plans for 'travel bubbles' with popular inbound destinations such as China and Korea after fears of second waves of Covid-19 emerged.
Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said there were plans to operate select flights from August but they had now been delayed and that domestic flights would have to support tourism for now.
The uncertainty means that Thai Air has also not yet been able to schedule any flights to cities around the world and most of its fleet remain grounded.
The airline’s only services during the pandemic have been domestic, repatriation and private.
Thai Airways made losses of more than 12 billion baht (383 million USD) in 2019 and an increase of 448 million baht (14.3 million USD) on the previous year.