On 31st March Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, said that the government wouldn’t allow its struggling national airline, Thai Airways, to collapse. Furthermore, Jatusripitak said the government would be ready to help its national carrier however possible, dismissing rumors of impending lay-offs due to the virus outbreak. Thai Airways currently employs about 20,000 staff.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Thai Airways requested a 10 billion baht ($307 million) state aid, enough to pay its employees for one month. However, right now, the airline is dangerously close to becoming the world's first national carrier to go bust amid the coronavirus pandemic, with only a few days left to maneuver out of its latest financial struggles. The Thai Vice Prime Minister ordered Thai Airways and related agencies to set up a working group to come up with a rehabilitation plan.
"I still would like to see Thai Airways as the national flag carrier, because that is the way things have been for a long time," the Deputy Prime Minister said. Whether the national flag carrier would remain as a state enterprise depended on the quality of the plan, Jatusripitak warned.
The airline is currently in talks with the Thai government regarding a bailout. To cope with the emergency, the carrier has requested the government a 70 billion baht ($2.16 billion) bridge loan, with the Finance Ministry as a guarantor.