Thai Airlines experience another bad quarter

23 May 2021

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, airlines experienced another bad quarter, with fewer passengers and lower revenue year on year. Bangkok Airways' president reported dismal numbers, saying that the airline is adjusting its flight plans to match the depressed market.
Bangkok Airways had only 151,900 travellers in the first quarter of 2021, dropping 88.5 per cent over last year’s figures. Even after the airline cut 85.6 per cent of its flights compared to the first quarter of last year, flights were on average 58.8 per cent full.
The airline lost 339 million baht in the first quarter of 2020, but that loss more than doubled to 757 million baht in the first quarter of 2021. Bangkok Airways' revenue was down 78.8% compared to last year, only with 1.36 billion baht pouring in. But, the airline used these decrease flights to push on with a construction project to develop Pattaya's U-Tapao airport and to construct the Eastern City Airport after an international architectural design contest.
 
Bangkok Airways wasn't alone in having a bad first quarter, as many airlines had. Similar losses as reported by Thai AirAsia, with a nearly identical 1.35 billion baht in revenue, which is 86 per cent lower than the first quarter of last year. With a 78 per cent fall in total passengers, they reduced their fleet to just 61 planes. Thai AirAsia carried nearly a million passengers, but even with reduced flights, the average passenger load on the planes was only 66 per cent.
 
Their losses were also more than double, nearly triple, last year’s first quarter, increasing from 671 million baht to 1.87 billion baht. Thai AirAsia has planned a restructure to open up to 6.825 billion baht to keep the airline solvent until the pandemic is over. They’re planning an IPO to raise 3.15 billion baht of that money on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
 
Domestic carriers had seen an uptick in passengers at the end of the quarter, with a 70 per cent load factor in March as people are hopeful for vaccination rollout, a reduction in Covid-19 infection, and a tourism stimulus plan to encourage people to travel. But, the third wave of Covid-19 arrived in April, with exponentially more infections and spread that covered the entire country. As a result, all progress was lost, and the airlines expect that in the second quarter of 2021.