Thai Reveals Early Moves To Aid Restructuring

Credit: Thai Airways

Thai Airways has made sweeping changes to its board as it begins its restructuring and the government has reduced its majority stake in the carrier to ease the process.

The airline named four new board members on May 25 who will help oversee the restructuring effort. The move came about a week after Thailand’s cabinet decided to send the airline to bankruptcy court rather than approving a bailout package for Thai Airways, which has been left stricken by the COVID-19 crisis.

One of the new board members is Piyasvasti Amranand, a former government minister who was also president of Thai from 2009 to 2012 and helped lead a previous turnaround plan. The other three are prominent Thai business and political figures: Boontuck Wungcharoen, Pailin Chuchottaworn and Pirapan Salirathavibhaga.

In another important step on May 25, Thailand’s finance ministry sold part of its holdings in Thai Airways. The ministry previously held 51.03% of the carrier’s shares but this has now been reduced after it sold a 3.17% stake in the carrier to the Vayupak Fund.

This move still leaves the finance ministry as the largest shareholder, although it drops the shareholding below 50%. This means the airline will no longer be classified as a state-owned enterprise, a change that will ease certain steps in the reorganization under bankruptcy laws.

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is a senior air transport editor for Aviation Week, based in New Zealand. He covers commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.