Thai Airways International said on Friday (25 November) that Chai Eamsiri would become the company’s chief executive officer from 1 February as it proceeds with its pandemic-driven restructuring plan.
Chai, currently the national carrier’s chief financial officer, was chosen for the top job from 53 internal and external candidates, the company said in a statement. “The appointment is a crucial next step to build trust and confidence among the creditors, passengers and business partners,” it said, adding that Chai had 37 years of experience and knowledge in the in the Thai aviation industry.
The airline, which has had acting CEOs since 2020, opened applications for the top job in September. Candidates were required to be Thai nationals in line with government regulations.
Thai Airways began bankruptcy protected restructuring of debt worth 400 billion baht ($11.17 billion) last year. The new CEO will have to work with the restructuring committee and oversee the airline’s recovery. The airline announced on 11 November that it made 3.92 billion baht in profit in the third quarter of this year, compared to a 5.31 billion baht loss in the same period last year. The national carrier said that it and its subsidiaries had recorded a revenue of 32.86 billion baht in the third quarter, up 582 percent year on year.
Revenue from passengers and cargo stood at 30.89 billion baht thanks to more frequent flights in the first half of the year. Thai has also reopened routes that were previously closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The total expenses for Thai and its subsidiaries came in at 28.94 billion baht, up 186 percent from the previous year due to rising operational costs. The price of fuel has risen by 80 percent compared to the previous year and is responsible for 44 percent of the operational cost, Thai said.