Covid-19 relief measures mulled for airlines operating in Thailand

Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation (AAV).
Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation (AAV).

BANGKOK – Executives of eight Thai airlines on Friday met senior officials from the Fiscal Policy Office to discuss relief measures for their ailing businesses affected by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation (AAV), the largest shareholder of Thai AirAsia said talks would go into details about earlier proposals on financial aid for the airlines, facing a cash flow crisis.

The carriers called for the government to provide soft loans worth 25 billion baht with 2% interest rate and a repayment period of five years to boost the airlines’ liquidity. The first installment payment is proposed to start on Jan 1, 2021.

They asked for the loan disbursement of at least 25 per cent or about 6.25 billion baht within this month as some airlines are now facing financial difficulties.

Regarding the May 1 flight resumption, he affirmed that Thai AirAsia can comply with the strict anti-disease transmission rule, issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

It will maintain social distancing measures with empty seats, which would cause a 30 per cent loss of passenger numbers in each flight.


As a result, he said the ticket prices would cost higher to cover the loss but would be definitely kept under the ceiling at 9.40 baht per kilometer, stipulated by the CAAT.

Flights will resume only for some destinations or about only 10-15 per cent of its normal operations in the trial period to see the air travel demand.

Five aircrafts will be operated for Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, KhonKaen, Phuket and Krabi, he added. (TNA)