Creditors of Thai Airways approve reorganization plan

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2020, file photo, a Thai Airways jet sits on the tarmac at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Creditors of Thai Airways International holding 91.56% of the airlines debt have approved a business reorganization plan, the company announced Wednesday, May 19, 2021 in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2020, file photo, a Thai Airways jet sits on the tarmac at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Creditors of Thai Airways International holding 91.56% of the airlines debt have approved a business reorganization plan, the company announced Wednesday, May 19, 2021 in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BANGKOK – Creditors of Thai Airways International holding 91.56% of the airline’s debt have approved a business reorganization plan, the company announced Wednesday in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

The plan, including three amendments added in consultation with the creditors, now needs final approval by Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court on May 28.

The carrier has generated losses for several consecutive years. It ran up 2.11 billion baht ($67.2 million) in losses in 2017, 11.6 billion baht ($369.5 million) in 2018, and 12 billion baht ($382.2 million) in losses in 2019.

Losses skyrocketed to 141.1 billion baht ($4.5 billion) in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the airline cease virtually all operations for an extended period.

The restructuring plan pegs the company’s total debt at 410 billion baht ($13.4 billion). According to the approved plan, it will apply for a new long-term loan or revolving loan worth 50 billion baht ($1.6 billion).

The airline initially sought a 54 billion baht ($1.7 billion) bailout loan from Thailand’s government after the onset of last year’s crisis, but was refused.

The Cabinet in May last year approved a reduction in the government’s stake in the airline to below 50% as part of the reorganization plan, shrinking the Finance Ministry’s stake from 51% to 47.86%

With the government reducing its stake, the airline lost its status as a state enterprise. The action also meant that the airline’s state enterprise union was automatically dissolved.