Thai Airways has denied it is at risk of shutting down, contrary to what the airline says are “false” news reports.
Media outlets including the Bangkok Post and The Thaiger reported earlier this week that Thai Airways was on the brink of collapse, citing a speech by president Sumeth Damrongchaitham to the airline’s executives during a training session.
“Today, I want staff to be united to overcome the obstacles. Otherwise, the national airline must close down. There is still time for a solution, but there is not much time,” Sumeth said.
“The competition is very fierce this year… Thai is really in a crisis. Next year it must do its best. If staff are still unaware and do nothing, they will not have enough time to fight back.
“Today, very little time remains. Today there is no comfort zone. Everyone will die if the vessel sinks.”
Thai Airways posted a loss of 6.44 billion baht ($3.1 million) for the first half of this year, and Sumeth noted in his speech that the airline had lost market share to competitors on several routes, according to the Bangkok Post.
However, Thai Airways claims these news reports “entirely misconstrued” Sumeth’s message to staff, “which was intended to bring about employee awareness of the highly competitive state of the airline industry and Thai’s competitive stance in the market”.
“With competition in the airline industry continually on the rise, Thai’s president clearly emphasised the importance and urgent necessity of overcoming obstacles in conducting airline business.
“Thai staff were urged to take heed of how heavy airline competition remains in all areas of business, low-cost carrier competition, air fare promotions, and cut-throat route competition in certain markets.”
The airline said Sumeth spoke to staff in order to motivate them to take immediate action to cut costs and boost profits, and “to act as a combined force to maintain competitive edge in the airline industry”.
“In an era when customers have so many offers on hand with fierce airline competition, employees were asked to join forces and work to beat the competition for the inevitable achievement of improved operational results,” it said.
“With utmost strength and determination, Thai confirms its capability to perform exceptionally amidst tough airline competition.
“Thai thanks all customers for maintaining confidence and for remaining loyal to Thai, the national flag carrier of Thailand. Thai remains very far from shutting down, which remains so far from the truth of Thai’s competitive strengths in the airline industry.”