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Thai airline group seeking THB 5 billion in government assistance

Aviation Updates Philippines – As the current COVID-19 situation continues to impact the aviation industry in Thailand and Southeast Asia, a group of seven Thai-based airlines are seeking financial assistance from the Thai government. 

Image: Bangkok Airways A320 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
 

The group of airlines – the Thai Airlines Association – are seeking a combined THB 5 billion (~USD $152 million) in low interest loans from the government. It is the fifth request made by the group after initially requesting THB 25.3 billion in soft loans.

Formed in February 2021, the members of the Thai Airlines Association include Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai VietJet, Thai LionAir, Nok Air, Thai Smile, and Thai Airways.

In a group statement, the airline reports the ongoing COVID-19 situation has resulted in the grounding of a combined 170 aircraft belonging to the Thai-based carriers. The combined incurring employment expenses are around THB 900 million a month.

"We have reduced the request from last year and the 5 billion baht will only cover employment and doesn't include leases, jet fuel and other expenses," Thai Airlines Association president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth told reporters. Prasarttong-Osoth is the current President of Bangkok Airways.

Prasarttong-Osoth further added: "We have asked employees to take leave without pay as much as we can. Now we want to maintain employment for the 20,000 industry workers."

While domestic flights have been able to be operated, commercial flights to and from Thailand have been heavily restricted. With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand ordered a ban on domestic flights to/from Bangkok and other high COVID-risk areas. The order affects 13 provinces along with Bangkok.

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