Thai Airways Lays Off Pilots As Part Of Survival Plan

Thai Airways are continuing their restructuring plan after entering bankruptcy protection in May 2020 by laying off 395 pilots and grounding 3 types of aircraft from their fleet. The airline will have just over 900 pilots remaining on its books.

It is believed that Thai currently has 61 aircraft in its fleet, the majority currently not flying, including Airbus A330, A350 and A380 plus Boeing 777 and 787. The latest plans will see their Airbus A330-300, A380, and Boeing 747 fleet all being grounded. It is not known if this will be a permanent measure.

Last May Thai Airways filed for business rehabilitation with 332.2 billion Baht (approx. £8.2 billion, $10.6 billion) of liabilities at the end of June. On 14th September Thai got court approval for its debt restructuring plan. It’s been reported that the rehabilitation process could take up to 7 years.

Thai have had the majority of its fleet sitting idle during the pandemic although there have been additional freight flights, repatriation flights as well as one-off specials.

A number of cost saving ind income generating measures have been looked at over the last few months. There have been extensive talks with aircraft leasing agents, engine manufacturers and service companies to defer or reduce payments. They have also looked at additional cash generating measures including auctioning off warehouse items and offering in-flight meals.

Thai were given an extension until 2nd March to submit their rehabilitation plan to the bankruptcy court. They have said that it is confident that the plan will be ready by that date. Delays to the plan have been blamed on the number of creditors and debt rehabilitation planners involved in the process.

Thai Airways are far from alone in their financial woes. Many other airlines in Southeast Asia have also struggled as the majority of flights have been cancelled while others have operated at far below capacity. Within Thailand Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air have also been suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

Photo credit lkarasaw on flickr

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