Thai Airways to slash executive perks

Thai Airways International (THAI) will sharply cut its executives' transport allowances as it moves to improve its business performance and tackle losses.

THAI acting president ACM Siwakiat Jayema said management had decided to cut up to 30% from its monthly transport allowance, as well as those of other executives, as part of measures to reduce 2014 expenses by 4 billion baht. Vice-presidents have received between 70,000 and 75,000 baht monthly.

"The plan also includes overtime payments for THAI technical staff and fuel costs," ACM Siwakiat said, adding cuts also will apply to human resources and staff numbers.

"Overtime payments for staff in the technical department will be reduced by 1 billion baht. A plan to cut the number of staff will help the company save another 1 billion baht. THAI also plans to reduce fuel costs by 800 million baht this year," ACM Siwakiat added.

THAI union chairman Damrong Waikhani backed cuts to executive allowances, but said a 50% cut was more fitting, as some executives use company cars while receiving the allowance.

Nonetheless, he said the executives showed "spirit" with their decision.

THAI has 42 vice-presidents who receive 70,000 baht monthly, Mr Damrong said.

"The 75,000 baht allowance is paid to nine others in the post of executive vice-president and executive president. THAI has to pay them a total of up to 3.6 million baht a month, or about 43.3 million baht per year," Mr Damrong said.

An allowance of free tickets for the board, which was recently revoked, was also welcome. But the union wanted the board to take action against alleged mismanagement in several projects.

In another move to improve its finances, THAI intends to expand its aircraft repair service at Don Mueang airport, a move expected to increase revenue by 10%, said Flg Off Chalermpon Intarawong, vice-president for aircraft maintenance.

The state carrier has also recently announced plans to join forces with sister airline Thai Smile and Nok Air in a bid to snatch a larger portion of domestic air passengers, including by selling tickets at 7-Eleven convenience stores.

The board approved the transport allowance cuts on Aug 5.

They were considered by a sub-committee on state enterprises, led by Lt Gen Anantaphon Kanchanarat of the Army Comptroller Office, with the details sent to a "super board" for state enterprises policy, chaired by National Council for Peace and Order chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, for a final decision.

The super board, created by the coup-makers to supervise the operations of state enterprises, particularly their boards of directors, meets tomorrow to discuss plans to resolve the financial problems of six state enterprises, THAI and the State Railway of Thailand among them.

Under the rehabilitation plan, THAI hopes to increase revenue by 3 billion baht while cutting costs by 4 billion baht.

THAI recorded a financial loss of 12 billion baht last year and was 2.63 billion baht in the red in the first quarter of this year. The company is expected to report more losses over the rest of this year.

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