Most Thai airlines are now grounded. This is due to the obvious lack of traffic from the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and government restrictions that is preventing people from travelling. Even though operations have come to a halt, the airlines still have staff and regulations the require them to be paid. This has caused 7 different Thai airlines to seek help from the Thai Finance Ministry, in a request for a 16 billion baht salvation package, so they can support their employees in spite of all planes being left firmly on the ground.
Thailand’s aviation industry has been suspending most of its international and domestic services for a little over a week now. The airlines include Thai Airways, Thai Smile, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, Thai Vietjet Air and Thai AirAsia X.
Currently, only 10 of the 63 Air Asia planes have been in use in recent weeks. On Saturday, Thai AirAsia announced cancellations for all domestic flights starting from April 1 for a month but has now been confirmed that the entire fleet will be grounded because of global travel restrictions.
The executive chairman of Asia Aviation, who’s also the largest shareholder of Thai AirAsia, Tassapon Bijleveld, told Bangkok Post that the 7 airlines had reached an agreement to request the financial aid in the wake of the virus outbreak, which has all but disintegrated air traffic in, around and out of Thailand.
Today, Airlines hope to secure a financial package when they meet with the Finance Minister. They plan to discuss long-term loans, an increase in their liquidity, and subsidies on the payroll. Last week Airports of Thailand offered a 50% cut in parking charges for the grounded fleets. which is a step forward in the scheme of things, but still not enough.
The losses in the airline business will be massive and will likely take years to recover, if not decades, and many airlines won’t re-appear at all, not only in Thailand but most likely airlines all over the world.Stay updated with Samui Times by following us on Facebook.
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