BANGKOK, 13 May 2021: The Thai Airline Association has asked the government to underwrite soft loans for the seven airlines serving domestic routes in Thailand.
The proposal also requests assistance for airline employees to fast-track the vaccination timeframe. It argues that airline staff are on the frontline like health workers and should be prioritised for the vaccine jab programme that gets underway on 7 June. Initially, the vaccine rollout will start with citizens and residents 60 years and over.
Thailand Airlines Association is made up of seven airlines; Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai Smile Airways, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air and Thai Vietjet Airways.
The association president, Putthipong Prasatthong-Osoth signed off on the letter sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha requesting a meeting to clarify the government position on providing low-interest loans for the airlines that suffered massive losses since August 2020. Quarterly financial reports show passenger traffic dropping by 90% while operational costs and staff salaries remained constant.
Airlines are asking for low-interest bridging loans from the government to help reduce the damaging impacts of lockdowns and to ensure the airlines are able to provide domestic services to support economic recovery.