Creditors Show Concern on Aircraft Procurement of Thai-Flag Carrier

Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited (SET: BBL), the major creditor of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (SET: THAI), raised concerns about the new 80 aircraft procurement plan as it did not state definite timelines and financial planning.

Sources from the committee on a follow-up of rehabilitation of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (SET: THAI), having Mr. Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Minister of Transport, as a chairman, revealed that the stream of information about THAI’s new 80 aircraft procurement plan was true.

The source stated that the committee held its first meeting in November to inquire THAI on the matter, which the national flag carrier explained that the company had already assigned the 80 aircraft procurement plan as leases in the company’s rehabilitation plan but had not yet specified the specification of the aircraft, the start date of procurement, and the financial planning.

The major financial institute, such as Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited (SET: BBL), still doubted the plan and tried to request THAI to state the definite information, as the concern arose from the fact that THAI’s status is currently in the process of rehabilitation and its 80 aircraft procurement plan was ambiguous.

In addition, sources elaborated further that THAI currently had a limited number of aircraft to operate, and it was not adequate for the needs of passengers, leading to the difficulty to open new routes. At the end of September 2023, THAI had 75 aircraft, separating to 68 operating aircraft and 7 long term parking aircraft. The management admitted that the company wanted to open several new routes.

Therefore, THAI’s plan to procure new aircraft was acceptable by the committee, but the company needs to distinctively clarify the plan to its creditor, as in the present, THAI was still in the rehabilitation plan and owed the debt in accordance with the plan of THB 130 billion. The said debt already included the THB 72,000 million of debenture, fully paid by the end of 2031.

The committee came to the conclusion that it will hold a meeting once every three months to follow up on THAI, while awaiting further clarification over the aircraft procurement in the next meeting. The company is responsible to report details of its business plan to the government as the ministry of transport is a major shareholder of the company, with 47.86% of shares held.

According to the report by Reuters on 9 September 2023, sources said that THAI were in the process of negotiation with Boeing and Airbus, two of the biggest commercial transport manufacturers in the world, to procure more than 90 aircraft to conform with the travel demand and restructure plan. Moreover, on 9 December 2023, Reuters also reported that Boeing was in advance talks to procure 80 of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to THAI.