Art of Rumours for Thai Airways International and Thai AirAsia

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?