Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thai Airways announces new president

BANGKOK (AFP) — Flag carrier Thai Airways Thursday named a former energy minister as its new president, with the task of resolving the airline's financial woes, a spokeswoman said.

Oxford-educated Piyasavati Amranand, 55, was chosen following a vote by the company's board members, the spokeswoman said, although his start date was not confirmed.

The position has been vacant since former president Apinan Sumanaseni resigned under pressure in November after the airline suffered heavy losses last year.

Thai Airways needs to borrow 37 billion baht (1.1 billion dollars) in local and international loans, according to board chairman Ampon Kittiampon.

He said domestic banks have agreed to lend the company 23 billion baht, including a five-billion-baht loan from Government Savings Bank.

"We are negotiating now and will conclude the deal next month," Ampon said.

Thai Airways needs another 14 billion baht from overseas markets to fund the purchase of eight Airbus A330s, he added.

The management is also reviewing a plan to buy six Airbus A380s, after the industry was badly hit by the global economic slump.

Piyasavati, currently chairman of the advisory panel to Kasikornbank's CEO, held the position of energy minister for two years after Thailand's military coup in 2006.

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