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Rescue plan for Thai lame duck PC Air?

Luc Citrinot - 04 December 2012, 07:29

Thai air carrier PC Air could be saved by a new Thai investor with strong financial credentials…

BANGKOK- Two years ago, PC Air made headlines around the world bringing a fresh wave of sympathy or curiosity among media when the new airline announced to hire Thai transgender persons as flight attendants. Twenty months later, the tune is quite different: this autumn, the carrier left 400 passengers stranded at Seoul Incheon International Airport as it was unable to pay airport’s fees to the operator. It seems that the airline did not pay for a while its airport’s bills as well as its jet fuel supply. All in all, PC Air had a debt towards Seoul Airport’s Authorities equivalent to over THB 10 million (US$ 310,000).

Thailand’s Ministry of Transport then told the airline that its license would be revoked if a similar incident would happen again. The airline which only operates charter flights must renew its license every month.

Thailand’s Ministry of Transport mild answer to the airline troubles is in fact given a chance to the passengers on the airline to be the victim of a similar problem.

To justify the moderate answer towards the carrier, Thailand’s Deputy Transport Minister explained that it was difficult to do so “as passengers already had paid for future flights”! Of course, the airline blamed its South Korean agent for payment default, telling that it had no financial difficulties on its own (a news report from the daily Bangkok Post dated back to October mentions about PC Air assessment!)

Some 45 days later, PC Air unique Airbus A310 aircraft is still pounded at Seoul International Airport as the airline did not settle its bill, despite PC Air supposedly “healthy” financial situation....

According to the Bangkok Post, a Thai investor is now looking to acquire up to 80% of the shares in the airline to inject much need funds into the ailing airline.

Sources from the newspaper revealed the deal could come as soon as in mid-December. The new investor comes from a powerful rich Thai-Chinese family and would, once the shares acquired, formulate a new strategic plan to revive PC Air’s fortune. 

The revival plan for PC Air would include the phase out of the Airbus and its replacement by two B767-300ER, twin-engine aircraft able to fly long haul destinations.

The future owner would also have to negotiate with the civil aviation the transfer of the license and aircraft registration. It can take up to one year according to the current practice at the Civil Aviation Department. PC Air's troubles have prompted the Civil Aviation Department to ponder toughening regulations for Thai charter airlines including requiring them to place a money guarantee as a surety and submitting a contingency plan in case they are unable to operate flights. Following PC Air incident, the Ministry of Transport met with the executive of Thailand six largest charter airlines operating out of the Kingdom to discuss the toughening measures to protect better passengers.


(Part of the source from the Bangkok Post)

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