Thai Airways has started selling off some of its properties as it battles to raise funds during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The financially struggling airline announced that it put up ten of its buildings – including an eight-storey office with a six-floor car park – from around the country to help maintain its business in Thailand.
Officials said the properties were in Bangkok and the provinces of Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Phitsanulok where the structures were used to house some of its offices.
Aside from selling some of its assets, the airline also imposed pay cuts and forced leave without pay on employees to keep the company afloat amid their 245 billion baht debt. Thai Airways was struggling before the coronavirus emerged and has been hit even harder since then.
Thailand has recorded 968,957 Covid-19 cases and 8,285 deaths as of August 18 but its economy has been devastated – with a ban on incoming tourists since March 22 last year.
Plans to re-open the country to tourists involve ‘sandbox’ quarantine areas where vaccinated visitors can stay while roaming around beaches and bars for 14 days.
However, economists fear that it could be up to five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.
Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.