Their are days when you have to wonder if anyone has any idea how to run a major airline.
Airlines and politics, especially around flag carriers never cease to amaze and astound me.
Governments with no idea how to run one bring undue influence to bare, pushing ideas on airlines out of basic ignorance. And those airlines then have to waste time and energy – and a small fortune – trying to satisfy the demands.
Thai Airways is in a financial mess again. $3.5 billion in losses and an incompetent military government calling the shots, topped off by a King whose made his horse a Field Marshall in the Army and has undue influence over everything.
The airline has struggled to make itself viable as visitor numbers crashed following political and economic uncertainty.
Now the airline has had to seek permission again to buy more new, more modern aircraft – and the governments answer was no. You’ve got 6 A340-600’s sat at an airport doing nothing – so bring them back into service instead.
Now you know and I know, these amazing aircraft, are gas guzzling behemoths that cost about 35% more to run than an A359.
These 6 have been sat in a tropical airport parking lot for five years. When withdrawn they were desperately in need of interior refurbishment – they had their mid-naughties interior from the day they were delivered. They’re outdated and would need at least a $20m each refurbishment to bring them up to A350 standards. Never mind the return to service cost.
One of the reasons the airline bought them and the A340-500 was to fly to New York from Bangkok, only to be banned by the FAA for maintenance violations. It took years to get that lifted.
So as Thai are forced into looking at another stupid government idea the rest of the world scratches its head in disbelief.
With any luck – for the airline’s sake, this whole thing will be get quietly dropped. What Thai needs is to be allowed to get on and run itself without constant interference from government.