How politics ran Thai Airways into the ground

The problems facing Thai Airways (Thai Airways International won’t go bankrupt: PM) reminded us of the unfortunate fate of the Thai state airline under the Pheu Thai-led government.
The firing of successful CEO Piyasawat and his replacement with a Thaksin political lackey was noted with shock by the airline industry worldwide. Below are some mentions over the years that refer to the troubles the state carrier has encountered.

From Manager, June 12, 2014
On the airplane: Directors of Thai Ariways
Captain: I am Captain Prayuth. I’d like to inform you that from now on this flight will stop serving luxurious food… expensive wine… champagne… we’ll serve only plain water just enough for you to live on… those who cannot accept it… please walk to the exit at the rear. And our staff will help push you out with their feet to find something else out there to eat.
[“Captain Prayuth” refers to Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the junta. During the time when the Pheu Thai Party led the government, the highly successful head of Thai was sacked and was replaced with a Thaksin crony. Subsequent losses led to the junta cutting remuneration and perks of board members in an attempt to shake up the state carrier.]

June 10, 2014: Junta cancels free flights for THAI board members

September 2, 2013: Is Thai Airways Sixth President since 2000 already gone?

October 1, 2012: Financial guru Faber: “Strange” that the government gets to appoint Thaksin cronies to head large companies

June 3, 2012: Why was the CEO of Thai Airways fired for leading a financial turnaround?

January 25, 2010: Thai Airways launches cultural overhaul
…Under the premiership of Thaksin Shinawatra from 2001 to 2006, interference in purchases by the board of directors, which is appointed by the government, reached new heights, Piyasvasti said.
“About five years ago, the board became so active that management simply stopped managing the company, and that started a rapid decline in Thai Airways,” Piyasvasti said…

Above: From Thairath, May 21, 2012
The caption reads: Fall from the heavens
On the chair: Piyasawat [Thai Airways CEO]
[This refers to the controversial sacking of the Thai Airways CEO who led the airline to a stunning financial turnaround. He was replaced by a Pheu Thai government loyalist.]

2009: Thai Airways to sell tickets online, five years after all other airlines did

2009: Thai govt says national carrier’s finances ‘alarming’

2009: Thai Airways seeks to delay delivery of Airbus on cash shortage

And from 2005: The infamous Suvanabhumi Airport Runway Cracks Story

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One Response to How politics ran Thai Airways into the ground

  1. Wiz says:

    Here is the major austere plans to revive Thai Inter to make it out of the debts in 2 year with the expected revenue is less than 200 billion Baht though

    1. 5000 less Thai inter workers through early retirement if not enough 10000 less Thai inter workers – Organization Strategy
    2. terminate the loss ridden routes and the reduction of frequency – to be revived ONLY after become profitable – network strategy including
    2.1 Phuket – Seoul
    2.2 BKK – Johannesburg – terminated on 15 Jan 2015 –
    2.3 Next on the line in 2nd Quarter are BKK – Madrid due to economic hard time in Spain and BKK – Moscow due to the sanction against Russia and oil slump that cause less Russian tourist coming to Thailand –
    2.4 Even the Only route to USA like BKK – Los Angeles will have to be terminated.
    2.5 Some of non profitable route but still makes money are pending on the 4th Quarter including BKK – Denpasa, BKK – Hyderabad
    2.5 less frequency on the route to Surat Thani, Ubon Ratchathani and Udonthani – the rest to be covered by Thai Smile
    3. better services and more frequency for money maker routes => to be the First Choice Carrier with Touches of THAI – network strategy
    4. More promotion of the online ticket system to cut down expenditure – Commercial Strategy – cost control
    5. Sell off 22 unused jets out of 102 jnew ets to cut down the maintenance cost and parking fees – Fleet strategy to be executed this year
    6. Sell off 28 old jets and decommission 14 Boeing 747-400 jets and Airbus A340-600 jets – Fleet strategy to be executed this year
    7. Cutting down the family of jet from 11 to 8 types to cut down maintenance cost
    8. Selling off the land, agent offices and crew housings abroad
    9. Need to sell off the shares on Non-core Business including Nok Air (39% of shares), stock in Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and aviation pipelines of BAFS – Non core
    10. Postponing the purchase of the new jets to replace the old ones – Fleet strategy
    11 . cutting the investment from 200 billion Baht to 150 billion Baht

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