SUMETH Damrongchaitham, president of Thai Airways International, said he expects the Cabinet to approve the airline’s proposal to purchase new aircraft by next month.
He also revealed that the national carrier wants to buy additional aircraft in the next five years, with the long-term aim to bring the airline’s fleet numbers up from 100 to 125.
“It is necessary to increase the number of aircraft if we want to keep up with the growing market,” he told reporters yesterday, adding that the commercial aviation market was growing by 3 per cent yearly.
“If we fail to boost our fleet, we stand to lose 10 per cent of the market share in the next three to five years,” he cautioned.
“We need to push for progress in terms of a larger fleet as soon as possible. The Cabinet will need to approve our proposal swiftly if Thai Airways is to keep up with the high competition.”
The proposal to acquire new aircraft, however, will not necessarily boost the airline’s fleet, he said, because old craft will need to be replaced. “Even after the Cabinet’s approval, it will be at least two more years before the new aircraft will be put in use, as we will need to proceed in line with the regulatory and purchasing process,” he said.
However, Sumeth did not reveal any details of the airline’s ongoing business recovery plans.
In this year’s third quarter, Thai Airways made a net loss of Bt4.082 billion, higher than the Bt2.107 billion net loss last year, as per figures revealed by the Stock Exchange of Thailan.
The airline’s revenue for the third quarter this year stands at Bt149.24 billion, compared to Bt190.53 billion in 2017.
Thai Airways also signed a memorandum of understanding with PTT Oil and Retail yesterday in a move to boost business, such as selling Thai Catering products via Amazon Cafe’s 70 branches across the nation by the end of next year.
“We started making Thai Catering products available in five Amazon Cafes since May and aim to expand this number to 12 outlets by the end of this year, and start selling nationwide by 2019,” Sumeth said.