Thai Airways Posts Record Loss In Q4

Thai Airways reported a record net loss for the fourth quarter on Friday, hurt by a drop in passenger numbers due to political instability in Thailand and the global crisis, plus surging fuel costs.

Analysts expect the airline's losses to be reduced this year, thanks to cost-cutting under a restructuring plan, plus better news on fuel costs, as it will have no expensive fuel-hedging contracts from April.

The company itself hopes to return to profit.

The national carrier posted a THB14.8 billion baht (USD$411 million) net loss in the October-December quarter against a net profit of THB1.84 billion a year earlier and a profit of THB426 million the previous quarter.

The airline is in the process of restructuring and seeking nearly USD$1 billion in loans from financial institutions. The plans will be put to the Finance Ministry for its approval by the end of March.

Concern about the airline's health and the poor outlook for Thailand's tourist industry due to the global financial crisis dragged its shares down to a record low of 6.35 baht in January.

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