Thai Airways lurches towards bankruptcy as coronavirus keeps flights grounded

May 18, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Thailand’s state-owned carrier Thai Airways appears a step closer to a bankruptcy reorganization as the airline remains grounded amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The government body overseeing state-run companies, the State Enterprise Policy Committee, agreed on Monday that the airline should reorganize, according to numerous reports. The plan would see the carrier reorganize and presumably return to flying as opposed to going out of business and liquidating.

In a statement, Thai Airways only confirmed that the committee would vote on a rehabilitation plan.

With a reorganization filing, Thai Airways would join the likes of Avianca and Virgin Australia as prominent airline victims of COVID-19. Avianca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. earlier in May and Virgin Australia entered the country’s equivalent of restructuring in April.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that as many as half of the world’s airlines could be casualties of the crisis, be it restructure, disappear or merge with another carrier.

A member of the Star Alliance, Thai Airways is a popular choice for award travel and is known for its customer service and connections to its home country’s numerous sites. The airline maintains a large base at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).

However, the airline’s flights have been grounded since April 4 as part of the Thai government’s response to the coronavirus. The grounding was recently extended to June 30.

Related: What should you do with your miles if an airline is going bankrupt?

Thailand’s borders have been closed since late March, and the country remains under a state of emergency.

Already in a weak financial state prior to the crisis, a bankruptcy would likely allow Thai Airways to accelerate the restructuring efforts that were previously underway.

Low-cost carriers, including Nok Air and Thai AirAsia, dominate Thailand’s domestic market. Thai Airways and its low-cost subsidiary Thai Smile only had a third-place 17% share of domestic seats in 2019, according to Cirium schedules.

Thai operated 103 aircraft at the end of 2019. Its fleet included six Airbus A380s, 10 Boeing 747-400s and 20 Boeing 777s.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy.

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.