LONDON – One bit of strange news has come out today. King Vajiralongkorn demanded that two Boeing 777-300ERs be delivered to Thai Airways despite the carrier being bankrupt. Is he delusional?
Two Delivered Already… The Third Is On The Way…
HS-TTA & HS-TTB have already been delivered to the carrier, which will be used when King Vajiralongkorn travels between Europe and Thailand.
It is also understood that a third, HS-TTC, will be delivered as well, with all three frames expected to have first-class cabins to accommodate for his traveling.
HS-TTC last conducted a test flight around 12 days ago, meaning that the jet is probably also ready for delivery as well.
Vajiralongkorn Already Has Aircraft…
Vajiralongkorn already has a six-year-old Boeing 777-300ER, registered as HS-TKY, that he and his entourage uses on such long-haul trips.
However, HS-TKY doesn’t have first-class cabins, which of course gives the view that the King wants to fly in style.
Maybe I am being too harsh, but if you have an airline that is struggling, maybe cancel orders and deliveries for those aircraft?
The King also has HS-TYV, which is an Airbus A340 that the Royal Thai Air Force uses for VVIP flights, but he never uses that aircraft either.
Thai Airways’ Financial Woes… The King Isn’t Helping Them…
Back in June 2021, the Central Bankruptcy Court in Thailand approved restructuring measures for the carrier following significant losses.
In November 2021, it was announced that the airline would shave its workforce to 14,500 from 21,300 as well as sell 42 aircraft by the end of 2022.
On top of this, 16 aircraft on lease were due to be returned as well, in order to make the cost cuts that it needs to in order to move forward with its longevity-based strategy.
Other cost-cutting measures that should take place would be stopping the pointless repositioning of HS-TKY, and potentially these three new Boeing 777-300ERs to Don Mueang when Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is just around the corner.
Surely, the king can just take a car ride, right? Again, who knows, maybe I am being too harsh?
So, Is He Being Delusional?
As a King, surely you have a duty of care about your country, and that includes business assets as well as the people.
The airline certainly didn’t have to take delivery of these jets to satisfy the King’s needs, especially if the business is trying to undergo a restructuring at a crucial time when post-pandemic recovery is essential.
You would of course think that considering he is a billionaire already and owns his own fleet of private Boeing 737s, he could maybe put the money up for that aircraft himself, rather than crippling Thai Airways further?
If the Thai King continues on this path, he will no doubt hinder the recovery of his flagship carrier, but that will be as a result of his own delusional thinking.