Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thai Airways lost US$560m

Dec 3, 2008
Bangkok turmoil
Thai Airways lost US$560m
Since the airports were closed and until now, Thai Airways has lost 20 billion baht, excluding the losses that might result from a dip in tourists numbers. -- PHOTO: AP
BANGKOK - THE head of flag carrier Thai Airways said on Wednesday that the airline had lost about US$560 million (S$856.7 million) because of the protest blockades at Bangkok's two main airports.

Both the main Suvarnabhumi international airport and the Don Mueang domestic hub reopened Wednesday after anti-government protesters ended their occupation, but the cost of the eight-day long movement has been huge.

'Since the airports were closed and until now, Thai Airways has lost 20 billion baht,' said Mr Narongsak Sangapong, acting president of Thai Airways.

'This amount does not include the losses that might come from fewer tourists,' he added.

A Bank of Thailand official has said that tourist arrivals could drop by 3.5 million from projected numbers next year because of the turmoil.

Airlines have been trying to get an estimated 350,000 stuck passengers out of the U-Tapao naval airport southeast of Bangkok, Chiang Mai international airport in the north, and the southern resort isle of Phuket.

Mr Narongsak said that Thai Airways had already sent home 30,000 of the 50,000 stranded passengers that it is dealing with.

He said they would hold a board meeting before deciding who to seek compensation from.

The flag carrier was already suffering from volatile fuel prices and lower passenger numbers, posting losses of 9.23 billion baht in the second quarter of 2008 - its biggest quarterly loss in a decade.

Thai Airways president Apinan Sumanaseni resigned from the board late last month, citing health reasons and ongoing disagreements with the board.

Protesters gave up their siege of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang after a court on Tuesday dissolved the ruling party and forced out the prime minister, one of the key demands of the demonstrators. -- AFP

No comments: