There was the visit of Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak almost two weeks ago at Thai Airways International Headquarters. And as a committed DPM with an interest for the national carrier, he requested Thai Airways International to be more present in ASEAN countries in a bid to assure Bangkok positioning as a central hub to ASEAN aviation. Curiously, the request was accompanied by another Minister’s wish: that Thai Airways opens talks with Thai AirAsia to acquire a share of the low cost carrier and create a giant low cost pool for Thailand.
The Bangkok Post reported the information telling that Thai Airways was even interested in acquiring around 20% stake in the low-cost rival. Most newspapers displayed about a future meeting between both airlines CEO. At Bangkok Stock Exchange (SET), the news translated into TG shares soaring sharply.
And then came the truth, in fact just a matter of logical thinking: that the price tag to acquire TAA stake -THB5 billion or US$140 million was indeed very high. And that Thai Airways- which is heavily indebted and is expected to have lost last year US$390 million- had probably better options to spend wisely this amount. And what would be the benefit for Thai AirAsia to sell its shares to Thailand national carrier, which has a reputation of being hampered by political interference all the time.
Last Wednesday, Thai Airways finally informed the SET that the airline never had an intention to acquire a stake in another carrier. Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported that many Thai newspapers had been called to explain that the Thai AirAsia purchase idea of Somkid Jatusripitak was meant as a “joke”… Or was it really?