Thai Airways International swung to a net loss in the first quarter, hit by weakness in tourism due to the prolonged political unrest in Thailand plus fierce competition from low-cost and regional rivals.
It showed the first-quarter net loss of Bt2.6 billion, against the net profit of Bt8.3 billion in the same period last year. The quarterly net loss was lower than the average loss of Bt2.78 billion forecast by six analysts polled by Reuters. It compares with a loss of Bt5.65 billion in the previous quarter.
In the quarter, the airline booked the operating loss of Bt3.29 billion. Though it posted Bt990 million in foreign exchange gain, that was a big drop from Bt5.14 billion in the same period last year.
Depreciation cost was Bt84 million.
Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) earlier expected that the airline would post a net loss of Bt3.5 billion.
This is the fourth successive loss of the airline.
Asia Aviation, the major shareholder of budget carrier Thai AirAsia, posted a 65 per cent drop in net profit in the first quarter, while Nok Airlines reported a 90 per cent decline in net earnings for the period.
On Wednesday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand cut its forecast for 2014 foreign tourist arrivals to 26.3 million, the lowest in five years, from a previous estimate of 28 million because of the unrest.
Shares in Thai Airways, valued at $877 million on the bourse, have tumbled two-thirds in the past 12 months, underperforming a 15 percent drop in the main Thai index.