Thai government won’t let flag carrier collapse hinh anh 1A Thai Airway aircraft. (Photo: AFP)

Bangkok (VNA)
– The Thai government will not allow flag carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) to collapse, according to Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak who has also dismissed rumours of impending lay-offs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local media on March 31 quoted Somkid as saying that the government is ready to help the national airline deal with financial difficulties even before the pandemic began.

Insisting that THAI won't lay off any employees, the official urged the carrier's board to come up with a business plan which proves that the company can still grow and expand after the crisis.

THAI employs about 20,000 staff, while its sister company which offers aviation-related services has about 4,900 workers.

Somkid said the Finance Ministry wants to see a proposal which clearly outlines how THAI plans to review its management structure and business strategies, so it can remain competitive in the aviation market once the pandemic subsides.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, THAI has temporarily suspended all of its international services (except charters and cargo flights) until May 31, while its low-cost subsidiary THAI Smile takes over its domestic services to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi.

According to THAI, travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus have hurt the company's operations significantly. Only its in-flight catering and ground services are still operating.

Thailand reported 127 new coronavirus infections and one death on March 31, bringing the total number of cases to 1,651 with 10 deaths. Bangkok has remained the hardest hit with 796 cases./.