Thai Airways International Plc, the nation’s flagship carrier, got court approval for its debt restructuring on Monday.
The Central Bankruptcy Court decided that the airline can proceed with its plan to rehabilitate its debt. The company, which had total liabilities of 332.2 billion baht at the end of June, faces one of its biggest challenges in its 60-year history as the pandemic hits the country’s tourism-dependent economy.
The Covid-19 crisis has devastated the global travel industry, forcing airlines to suspend flights, lay off employees and seek financial help from governments and investors. Companies such as Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd and Avianca Holdings SA, Latin America’s second-largest airline, have gone into administration or sought bankruptcy protection.
Industry strains have been mounting in Asia, with Singapore Airlines Ltd eliminating about 20% of its workforce. Thai Airways creditors are likely faced with a protracted process: the company is estimating that the rehabilitation could take as long as seven years.
The court ruling may allow Thai Airways to start talks soon with debt-holders on the terms of restructuring the dues.
“The court’s debt rehabilitation approval is just a tiny step,” Chanchai Chaiprasit, chief executive officer of PricewaterhouseCooper’s Thai