Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thai Airways chief maps out keys to sustainability

Improved service, risk management, business diversification and corporate governance are the keys to putting Thai Airways International on a sustainable path for the next four to five years, its president says.
At a conference to mark the airline's 50th anniversary, THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand emphasised the need to make all involved with the policies and management of the national airline accountable.

"Corporate governance allows the management to run the airline more easily. Before, there were people thinking for us what aircraft THAI should purchase," he told the conference.

"Corporate governance is crucial, and this was THAI's problem."

Piyasvasti vowed to improve the situation, mainly through changes in the corporate culture, in the next two years. If all were accountable for their actions, this would help prevent THAI from regressing even after he leaves the company.

He also highlighted the need for better services to draw more passengers.

Risk-management strategies must be adopted, mainly on jet-fuel hedging, to reduce the negative impacts from oil-price hikes, he said.

And given that the global airline industry's profitability is driven by passengers in the business and economy classes, THAI needed to be more thorough when planning its routes with first-class seats.

Last, he supported the company's plan to set up an ultra-low-cost airline with Tiger Airways. He noted that this is the global trend, reflected by the low-cost airlines' 36-per-cent share in the European market.

He said that while Thai Tiger Airways would shield THAI against losing more share of the domestic market, it would also expand THAI's regional business, given the large number of people in Asian countries such as Vietnam and Laos who have never flown before.

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