Thai Airways international have reported a net profit for 2021, following a year of gruelling pandemic losses in 2020. This is the first time that the company has reported a full-year consolidated net profit in five years.
Recovering from a tricky year
In 2020 the Airline saw its worst financial year on record, reporting a consolidated net loss of almost 141 billion baht, over $4.2 billion, or over £3.2 billion. The airline’s financial problems were long-standing, but lack of tourism during the pandemic struck a final blow. Many countries neighbouring Thailand closed their borders to avoid the spread of COVID-19, which had damaging effects on Thai Airway’s revenue. In May 2020, Thai filed for bankruptcy after a 50 billion baht bailout from the government was withdrawn.
To tackle their surmounting financial woes, Thai Airways appealed for a debt restructuring plan to help the company survive. The program involved selling off portions of their fleet to help pay off debtors. At the start of 2021, the airline had 103 aircraft, but they had sold a third by December, reducing their fleet size to 67. Thai say they’ve recouped 81,525 million Baht through aircraft sales and debt restructuring. Thai also shifted their focus from passenger flights to cargo, with freight accounting for almost 50% of their total revenue in 2021.
What does the future hold for Thai Airways?
Looking at this year’s figures, it seems that things are looking up for Thai Airways. The decline of COVID has allowed them to increase their capacity once more and recover some revenue. Following the border reopening of many European countries late last year and Thailand’s Test and Go program that started 1 November, the carrier has seen average daily passengers increase from 311 in October to 2,559 in December. For 2022, the airline is looking for a 25 billion baht loan to help their continuing rehabilitation.
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