Thai Airways : is there any captain on (the) board ?

More than ever, Thai Airways looks like an ablazed B747 falling to the ground.

Thai silk isn’t smooth anymore. 😉

THURSDAY
The board decides to suspend President Apinan. The medias report the news. The job is given (acting president) to Norahuch Ployyai, an executive vice-president for the airline’s standards assurance and risk management department.

Mr Norahuch, a THAI employee since 1978, was a classmate of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Class 10 at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.

A few hours later… unions start to protest… The chairman of the board makes an astonishing U-turn and… overrules the vote !

Have you ever seen such thing with any normal airlines ? Air Myanmar or Zimbabwe Air excepted, I don’t remember…

Jamsri Sukchotirat, the chairman of the Thai Airways labour union, said the move was the ”wrong way to tackle the airline’s internal problems”.

This is definitely politically motivated, given that Mr Norahuch is close to [Mr Thaksin]. It will only create greater problems and infighting within the organisation,” Mrs Jamsri said.

She sharply criticised political interference in the airline’s procurement and ticketing operations, including frequent demands made by MPs and senators for free seat upgrades for themselves and their relatives.

Thai Airways suffers considerably from political interference. A politician may purchase a seat to Europe for 39,000 baht, but demands an upgrade to a 120,000-baht first-class seat for free,’‘ she said.

”Over the past six years, since the Thaksin Shinawatra government, political interference has only increased, resulting in our problems today.’‘ (Bangkok Post)

Indeed… Thai Airways is a flying circus. But it would be a lie to pretend that all the problems started under Thaksin. The national carrier has always been a big honeypot into the hands of the… military of course.

It was a chasse-gardee for the Air Force. Free flights, free upgrades for the nieces, sisters, brothers, cousins, maids, pets of all the thai politicians and lunatics “generals” in their tight uniform.

Bad management is clearly an understatement !

Problems with airplanes procurement… No cash. When the large world companies are buying new aircrafts by dozen… Thai Airways was talking about leasing… Recently, they scraped some lines and revised their “10 years plan” (read here).

But the party could end. Because of… oil.

Expensive jet fuel is already hurting all the airlines around the world… Even the best ones…

So, it’s not difficult to imagine that Thai Airways is going to suffer. Extremely.

5 Responses to “Thai Airways : is there any captain on (the) board ?”


  1. 1 thaichris 28 June 2008 at 1:30 am

    There is still “hope” for THAI. The magic word is … subsidy. They will argue, that there problem is only caused by rising oil prices and they will cry for help arguing that this is a NATIONAL TRESSURE. The gorvernement will step in and help and the politisians have even more reasons to ask for upgrades.

    Did you ever hear about the SWISSAIR grounding? It was missmanagement similar to THAI, it became so bad that they even havn’t been able to pay there fuel bills and thy stopped flying for a day. The Swiss governement stepped in and gave an inffusion of 2 Billion Swiss Francs – today SWISS belongs to LUFTHANSA. “National” airlines are managed by heart and soul, mostly leaded by ex-politicians.

    So peoples of Thailns, be aware that another portion of your taxmoney is flushed down the toilet. Wonder why everybody in Thailand tries to avoid taxes. And after all these payments for the big shots, it’s clear that there is no money left for the poor. But guys and girls upcountry – didn’t you remember. You got your 500 Bath paycheck when you sold your vote to PPP. This money needs to last until the next elections, You think, you diserve subsidyse like THAI? Don’t worry, you will get it – next election day. You should lear from THAI. Give the politisians a free ride and it will pay out. You daughter working in Bangkok can tell you more about that. And if you ask why, there is an answer, I hear every day: “This is Thailand”.

  2. 2 fall 28 June 2008 at 3:23 am

    Subsidy for THAI? Not really.
    Domestic flights are the cash cow of every national airline. They charge inexorbinant fee because of monopoly.

    The problem with THAI is bad management and a overtly strong labor union. Any management plan that will effect staff would be protest. So basically, its a big giant that would only keep getting bigger, with complimentary nephotism.
    Fuel price would definitely put THAI to the test, and one that likely fail (THAI have not hedge the fuel price, and that’s one of the main reason its revenue was down last quarter). When the giant fall, there would be hue and cry. Subsidy would only prolong the inevitable, like the bus sector.

    How do you think all those low cost airline can survive, when they are using the same fuel? It’s the efficiency.

  3. 3 thaichris 28 June 2008 at 6:12 am

    FALL, I fully agree. The “hope” was sarcastic. And “subsidyse” for THAI? You don’t think? I’m sure about because this is the only move the current gorvernement knows. Put pressure on them and they subsidyse you (it took bus operators 4 hours to get a subsidyse of 3 Bath per liter AND a raise of the fare). It took the transport companies only words to get a 3 Bath subsidyse. So I think it might be enough if the board of THAI only THINK about a grounding and the money will flow. Does it make sence … NO. Does Samak care that it doesn’t make sence … NO.

    Sit and wait. Maybe Samak makes some paper cranes as a special gift for THAI. Good way to extend there fleet. And cheap.

  4. 4 thaicrisis 28 June 2008 at 6:21 am

    I agree : the state will pay.

    No other solution.

    I mean Thai Airways is the national, the flag carrier… We all know that face, image are very important…;-)

    If the oil problem continue (my god no rest, last night 142 USD in NY !), the state will help the airline.

    It’s a certainty.

  5. 5 Char 15 October 2008 at 7:43 pm

    All roots of problems of Thai Airways and Thai nation and its downfall seems to be the ravelling and neverending gluttony of Taksin .Taksin is everywhere .In the heart and soul of Thais .. business monopoly infrastructure Suwannabhumi tax freud illegal land buying Thai Airways cake (honey pot) (Aryatana 12 billion Baht mega (no) project and buying fleet of failure fleet) wrongful Loan to Burma deal with Cambodia Illegal deal with Singapore and India etc etc unroyalty to Thai Royalty norminee problematic goverment after another etc etc .

    Congratulations on plots of bringing down Thai Airways and the nation !!! If there is a reward for this you are on top of the list !Bravo !!!


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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