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THAI AIRWAYS: Singapore rival takes trade; Passenger numbers halved in new group
Bangkok Post - Thailand; Jun 1, 2001
Thai Airways International has lost half of its passengers since Singapore Airlines joined the Star Alliance, said the airline's president.
Bhisit Kuslasayanon, told the executive board that Bangkok was the only transit point between Europe and Australia up until Singapore Airlines joined the alliance. Since the latter's inception competition has dramatically increased, he said.
Mr Bhisit said the national carrier would not withdraw from the alliance, but must find ways to reap more benefits from being a member of the world's largest airline grouping.
Board member M.L. Supasit Chumpol said the airline was also reeling from the delay in construction of Nong Ngu Hao airport, its risky debt-equity ratio of 11:1 and a lack of management flexibility.
He expressed concern that the airline employed 24,000 staff for 80 aircraft, while Singapore Airlines needed only 13,000 staff to operate 92 planes.
Singapore Airlines' share value increased from US$5 billion to $10 billion in the past two years, while that of Thai Airways dropped from $1.2 billion to $900 million.
M.L. Supasit said the company would have to sell shares to the private sector to raise funds. He suggested stakes offered to a strategic partner should rise from 10% to 20% of all shares.
As part of its service upgrade, the airline would replace seats and equipment for passenger convenience on six Boeing 777-300s, eight Boeing 777-200s, nine Boeing 747-400s and six Airbus A330-300s. The Boeing 777-300s have priority. The work costs 2 billion baht.
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