Thai Airways is looking to refresh and rejuvenate the airline with a six-point strategic plan to reduce expenses and increase revenue. Part of the strategic plan is to ask passengers for their cost-cutting ideas.
Thai Airways lost USD $26.2 million in the first quarter of 2019, and some USD $22.4 million in the second quarter.
Thai Airways is attributing a number of external pressures as contributing to revenue and expense challenges. They include intense competition, a strong Baht, the closure of Pakastani airspace, airport capacity issues, sluggish global demand and the US-China trade dispute.
Despite an aging and mixed fleet, the Star Alliance member is popular with many travelers for its competitive fares, generous points redemption availability, and an excellent inflight product.
In a statement provided to Simple Flying, President of Thai Airways, Sumeth Damrongchaitham, was disarmingly frank and said;
“I have been President of Thai for 11 months and there was never a day without a problem. Members of the Thai Board of Directors, Management, and staff recognize Thai as a national carrier and we have all been working hard as the problems that we face cannot be easily solved.
“With these aforementioned strategies, we believe that Thai will return to its position as one of the top world-class airlines although not as soon as we hoped. This all depends on the support of Thai passengers who still love Thai, who can help by flying with our airline, use our services, and by making recommendations under the #SaveTG concept.”
Thai’s strategic plan
Thai’s strategic plan focuses on six points. Firstly, the board wants to implement a cost control strategy that does not impact on the level of service provided by the airline. Secondly, the airline wants to reduce waste. They want to start with food waste but generally built on the idea of an enclosed circular economy. A third aspect of the strategic plan is to introduce new flights to Japan, a key market for Thai Airways.
Fourth, Thai wants to increase revenue. They are looking at two angles here. The airline wants to drive customers online, to its digital platforms. A customer checking in or managing their booking online costs far less than dealing with a Thai employee and once the technology is mastered, it can be quick and efficient. Thai Airways also wants to start selling ancillary products – excess baggage, insurance, hotels, limo transfers, car rentals. These can also be sold digitally. Thai plans to launch its new digital platform in October 2019.
Fifth, Thai wants its partners, digital and non-digital, to sell more Thai Airways products.
Finally, Thai wants better connectivity between flights, improving the passenger experience.
Customer suggestions and solutions sought
The airline is interested in hearing from passengers and customers who have “solutions” or suggestions. They’ve even provided a contact email email@example.com if you have ideas or suggestions.
One idea lots of people might agree with is a proposal by Sumeth Damrongchaitham for the airline’s senior executive to take pay cuts to help reduce expenses.
The Bangkok Post is quoting Mr. Damrongchaitham as saying;
“The spirit of directors and high-level executives will be a signal to everyone in the organization that it is high time for us to join forces and do whatever we can to help the organization through this crisis. What can be sacrificed must be sacrificed.”
As a full-service airline, Thai Airways is facing many of the cost and revenue pressures felt by other premium airlines around the world. Of these airlines, some meet the challenges better than others. Thai Airways is a terrific airline offering a quality product at a competitive price.
Passengers past and present can only wish it the best of luck.