Thaworn 'confident' in Thai Airways' rehab plan

Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam has expressed confidence that loss-ridden Thai Airways International (THAI) will be able to stage a turnaround and start making profits within three years.

The national carrier is undergoing a rehabilitation plan, including cutting back on internal expenses and boosting digital marketing, he said after a meeting with THAI and Thai Smile Airways executives on Thursday.

THAI president Sumeth Damrongchaitham said staff are gathering additional information on the airline's plan to buy or lease 38 new aircraft, estimated to cost 130 billion baht, before sending the details to the cabinet for approval.

He believes the rehabilitation plan will pay off and THAI will start to make a profit within three to five years.

The rehabilitation plan is aimed at addressing its almost 100 billion baht debt that has accumulated over the past 10 years.

The measures include procuring new aircraft and improving services.

Mr Sumeth said THAI also plans to promote Otop products by selling them on flights, adding the carrier also plans to start allowing passengers to check in four days to two weeks in advance.

Meanwhile, acting chief executive officer of THAI Smile Chartia Leelayuth said the airline will ask its parent, THAI, to increase capital in the fourth quarter of this year for use as a revolving fund to tackle the low-cost carrier's losses of about 14 billion baht.

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