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Thai Airways International clarifies social media rumours about bankruptcy

Thai social media –online channels in particular- have been agitated by a rumour of an eminent bankruptcy of Thai Airways International. Finally, Thai Airways Communication and Public Relations Department stepped in to provided some clarification on what the airline qualifies as “misinformation”.

BANGKOK- Thai passengers complaint on social media recently that flights of Thai Airways have been delayed due to a protest by employees. And as Thailand is very prone to rumours, the delays became a protest about the next bankruptcy of the airline. Although Thai Airways is currently losing money, the fact that it belongs to 54% to the Ministry of Finance is rather a guarantee of its financial survival. Some experts of the airline in fact have doubt in the past financial accounts of the airline, which has until recently always show benefits- even during the worst period of time.

To counter the rumour, Thai Airways International Communication and Public Relations department was forced to step in and to officially deny any bankruptcy. In its statement, the department “denies such rumours and states it is untrue that the Company will go into bankruptcy. Since its establishment, THAI has met all debt payments even with low operating results in the past. Therefore, the Company will not go bankrupt as it has never missed debt payment since it was established”.

At the end of the third quarter 2013, the airline had assets that were primarily aircraft valued at approximately THB 315,923 million and debts including burden of interest at approximately THB 183,489 million, excluding the burden of expenses for 20 leased aircraft in the fleet.  The Company has well-prepared its finances and has sufficient liquidity.  

When compared to 2008, when the Company experienced an operating loss prior to foreign exchange rate and tax (not including aircraft impairment) as high as 14,943 million baht, whereby assets increased at a rate higher than debts, the Company never missed a debt payment then.  The Company, therefore, confirms that it has financial stability, a well-prepared plan, and is considering to adjust its strategy in order for the Company to have a better operating result on a regular basis.

According to the statement, flight delays on January 5th 2014 were due to a lack of outsourced manpower at Suvarnabhumi Airport, causing work slowdown at the airport for tasks that require experience and expertise. The Management has since corrected the problem and apologizes for passenger inconvenience. “The airline confirms that messages appearing in social and online media are rumours and that THAI employees did not intentionally delay the flights in a show of protest”.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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