LONDON – Thailand’s national carrier Thai Airways (THA) is confident in its airline business to recover with exponentially high travel demands and experiencing fast growth in liquidity for the first time in 2 years.
The airline also expects a faster exit from its rehabilitation plan. Is this the golden era for the airline to shine again after decades of financial mismanagement and corruption?
Thailand’s flag carrier Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) stated that it has experienced rapid growth in revenue since November 2021.
The airline credited the Thai government for lifting travel restrictions and bringing business and tourists to the country. The airline is also witnessing a rapid increase in bookings to and from Thailand.
On 1 July 2022, the government scrapped all travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers and the notorious Thailand Pass to streamline entry into the Kingdom.
In response to the rise in demand, Thai Airways and its regional subsidiary Thai Smile Airways have increased their flight frequencies.
In the month of June alone, the airline and its subsidiary recorded an average of 12,568 and 12,257 passengers a day compared to 269 and 4,939 respectively this time last year.
This means that the cabin factor has also increased to 75% last month, a far cry from last year’s figure.
The first half of this year has shown that recovery in air travel is in full swing. The airline has beefed up its route network and flown high demand routes including:
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Melbourne, London, Jakarta, Dhaka, Frankfurt, Taipei, Singapore, Copenhagen, Munich, and Zurich.
Moreover, the flag carrier also plans to increase its frequency to Jakarta, Taipei, Singapore, Copenhagen, Munich, Zurich and Seoul, with flights to Tokyo (Haneda Airport) and Brussels in the second half of 2022.
In addition, the carrier will also re-fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia after 3 decades of diplomatic hiatus.
Cargo – the COVID Kingmaker
Cargo flights were the bread and butter for THAI during the worst days of COVID. In May of this year, the airline recorded a cargo revenue of 2,104. This is 41% higher than what was recorded before pre-COVID (2019).
Like many airlines, they have turned to cargo services to implement their lost revenue, also including restructuring and reorganising their business.
This is to streamline the airline by cutting costs and improving its operational efficiency. There have been calls to do so many years before COVID, but after this pandemic, this is a perfect time to act upon any changes.
Many changes have been made to the airline, including digitalization of its operations and selling off unused or unnecessary company assets which generated an additional cash flow of 9 billion Thai baht or $250,000,000 – USD. As a result of these measures, and an improvement in travel demand, the airline’s cash flow is set to improve significantly, which means that the need for the airline to look for new loans diminishes.