Thai Airways president calls for national unity against… foreign competitors

My mistake.

I praised -loudly- the courage and the honesty of Piyasvasti, the newly appointed president of Thai Airways.

He had the courage to call a rose a rose… and a pile of manure a pile of manure.

“The management had not really been allowed to manage the company,” Mr Piyasvasti said in an unusually frank interview.
“The company had been interfered heavily by the board, by the politicians.

Alas… natural behavior is coming back with a vengeance…. !

Thai Airways International (THAI)’s chief executive says Thai-owned carriers should form a united front against foreign rivals, especially the fledging budget carrier AirAsia, whose rapid expansion is seen as a “threat”.

“Instead of fighting among ourselves, it would be better for us, Thai airlines, to stick together, co-operate and fight AirAsia, which is the biggest threat,” said Piyasvasti Amranand.

“They [AirAsia] are expanding rapidly, taking a lot of passengers away. Their Thai market share has been increasing rapidly.” (Bangkok Post)

Voila. Disappointment. Again.

That’s the curse of Thailand.

To call other companies to combine force against a player, why not. It’s competition. It’s deals. It’s healthy. It should be the natural course of capitalism and free entreprise.

But, it’s stronger than him : Piyasvasti sees the problem through a despicable (and so over done, and so cheap) nationalism.

Like for many other thai officials (government and business)  it’s a burning obsession : “Them against us” . The world against Thailand. The foreigners against the Thais.

A mind frame.

And this is precisely why Thailand won’t be able to develop itself furthermore.

They are all dinosaurs, and for that matter condemned to vanish from the surface of the Earth.

And the astonishing success of Air Asia (an asian player, absolutly not a western player) is a striking proof of it.

And it’s like a card to announce the dinosaurs’ funerals.

Bye bye Thai Airways.

[Last point : eventhough this story is a small one… it tells a lot about politics. It helps us to foresee the future… It helps us to understand that all the projects of political union in Asean or in Asia are just… nice fictions designed to entertain the clowns. 😉 ]

17 Responses to “Thai Airways president calls for national unity against… foreign competitors”

  1. 1 Saul 30 November 2009 at 5:44 am

    Yes, a pretty weak case for Thai Air, especially as AirAsia is not only an Asia operation with SE Asia and ASEAN ownership, but the part flying in and out of Thailand is actually ThaiAirAsia, a seperate company I believe only 49 percent owned by AirAsia with the rest owned by Thais.

    So the new President of Thai Air is basically saying that another Thai Airline, ThaiAirAsia, needs to be “ganged up” on and “attacked” not because it is “foreign” and “un Thai”, but really because it has a much lower ratio of employees to aircraft and passenger and flight volumes, uses capital in a much more efficient manner and provides a much more convenient and lower cost service to millions of Thai citizens and residents than either Thai Air or Bangkok Air.

    Take a moment to contemplate Bangkok Air’s ownership of the Samui Airport in relation to the incredibly uncompetitive and hi-cost flights to and from Bangkok to Samui, and then further contemplate Bangkok Air’s intricate relationship with the Democrat Party Thailand’s finances and also Bangkok Air’s attempts to establish “a working relationship” with Thai Air, and you have the “Thai Controlled Oligarchic Monopolistic Capitalist Model” in all its glory)

  2. 2 Bewdyr 30 November 2009 at 9:30 am

    It’s called a cartel isn’t it?

    Which is illegal isn’t it?

    Oh, Thailand. Sorry.

  3. 3 Mark 30 November 2009 at 11:31 am

    Thai Airways is a dinosaur of a company – a threat to the prospect of introducing modern aviation practices and standards to Thailand.

    If you visit the Head Office of Thai Airways you’ll find hundreds of people who actually come into work every day but don’t actually have a job to do. They are still on the payroll because Thai Airways adopts the practice of lifetime employment (similar to Thai Beverage). You’ll also find politicians on the Board and payroll who, similarly, do not contribute to the company.

    The sooner they go out of business the better. Sadly, the government would prop the company up instead of winding it up – since they don’t like competition either.

  4. 4 stangoesagain 30 November 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Thailand’s domestic market is dominated by a foreign player, why are you surprised Thai airways wants to team up with other local carriers against it? Are you saying that other countries are not protective of their local aviation industry?

    And Piyaswasti is probably as good as it gets for Thailand, there aren’t any better alternatives.

  5. 5 ThaiCrisis 30 November 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Re-read what I wrote : it’s perfectly normal to team up. It’s not normal to point out the “foreigners”.
    It’s business. It should not : “them against us”. “foreigners against thais”.

  6. 6 Pricilla 30 November 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Thai Airways is “too big to fail”, meaning of course it is a poorly run business with overpaid useless directors going bankrupt. Imagine the national loss of face if it were allowed to go the way of the dinosaurs as it should.

    No much better to blame the evil foreigners with their unfair business practices. Hostesses are prettier on Air Asia to boot. Is this a prelude to the government evening up the playing field in ways only governments can?

  7. 7 Wenthworth 30 November 2009 at 7:43 pm

    @ Bewdyr

    Its only a scam if you’re not in on it!

  8. 8 stangoesagain 1 December 2009 at 9:24 am

    ThaiCrisis, it might not be normal to team up against foreigners but there’s certainly nothing unusual about it.

    I also think that the foreigner label is just a cheap trick in search of common ground for anti-Airasia alliance. Next they might go for Bangkok Airways and think up some other catchy reason.

  9. 9 puri 1 December 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Nationalism card plays well sometimes, especially in Asia. In a similar case of Japan Airlines, the director may not say such thing in public but the organization strategy implies the same message.

    Piyasvasti may not believe so and most Thais won’t play along. It’s just a game.

  10. 10 Lothar 4 December 2009 at 12:30 pm

    No Pricilla it’s not to big to fail as you will see. Some day – coming pretty soon now – there will be a lot of changes.

    And not being able to refinance the billions of debt of this airline is one of the consequences when unity goes away and the open fights of the elite starts and even the national banks have to save their ass first.

  11. 11 carlbraun 7 December 2009 at 8:25 am

    this is how Thai try to lose more customers :

  12. 12 artichoke 8 December 2009 at 12:03 pm

    TG have a choice. They could buy new planes and compete. I don’t fly them anymore due to the aged and uncomfortable seating, and because they charge like wounded bulls.

  13. 13 Bewdyr 8 December 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I really hope that the fact ToT has blocked access to Thai Crisis does not mean we are going to see it falter. This blog has been an invaluable source of economic information, and provided some space for venting and some really biting though satisfying cynicism from a number of very smart posters.

    As foreigners in Thailand, it is no less than our clear duty to poke Thais in the eye when their stupidity becomes too insufferable to be borne. Clearly they don’t like being poked in the eye but so far as I am concerned, that’s just really tough shit.

    Let’s hope the pricks don;t achieve what they want to achieve.

    Keep up the good work mon ami.


  14. 14 Marvo 12 December 2009 at 1:57 am

    I too would be heartbroken at the demise of TC and the withdrawal symptoms would be intolerable, I know. Is there any way a “rendez-vous” point could be set up in the event that our beloved channel for poking fuck-wits in the eye suddenly disappears one day?


  15. 15 Lord HaHa 15 December 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Oops wrong beach

    Scots beach in Thai tourist guide

    The image is thought to have been lifted off the internet to save someone the effort of travelling to Kai Bae beach to take a fresh picture!

  16. 16 Insanity 20 December 2009 at 9:09 pm


    This time fruit, next time explosives! Executive Chairman Wallop Bhukkanasut and, others knowingly involved, should be sacked and Thai Airlines heavily fined for airport security violations. In addition AOT need to review security procedures to ensure similar event never happens again.

  17. 17 Insanity 5 January 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Update to my 20 Dec. post above.


    But, the Transport Minister lives up to Thai reputation of denial of obvious reality and not accepting responsability:

    “He has volunteered to resign with immediate effect,” Transport Minister Sopon Zarum told Reuters, adding it was not an admission of responsibility. “It’s not about the right or wrong of the scandal.”
    And what about the deeper investigation into airport security?

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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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