Outlook dim as fuel costs rise amid competition from budget airlinesYUKAKO ONO, Nikkei staff writer
BANGKOK -- Thailand's ailing flag carrier Thai Airways International flew into turbulence in the first quarter with a 47% decline in net profit for the Jan.-March period, typically its peak season.
Total revenue came in at 49.8 billion baht ($1.4 billion), down 0.8% on the year, while operating profit plunged 60% to 2.867 billion baht. It earned a net profit of 3.157 billion baht, helped by a 1.5 billion baht gain, thanks to a stronger local currency.
Thai Airways only returned to full year profit in 2016 for the first time in four years. Usanee Sangsingkeo, Thai Airways acting president, told reporters she was confident that the state-owned company would "make profit" this year but also that the business environment was challenging.
Passenger numbers were up 10% on the year in the quarter and cabin factor beat the industry average at 82% but that was partly boosted by lower fares. Amid tougher competition with low-cost carriers, passenger yield, which represents revenue per passenger per kilometer, was down 12% year-on-year at 2.2 baht.
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