He sent his message to THAI executives during a training session at the airline's headquarters.
“Today I want staff to be united to overcome the obstacles. Otherwise, the national airline must close down. There is still time for a solution, but there is not much time,” Mr Sumeth said.
He said that THAI had lost its market leadership on several routes to competitors, citing northern routes that had generated a third of THAI’s revenue but were now dominated by low-cost airlines.
“The competition is very fierce this year,” Mr Sumeth said. “THAI is really in a crisis. Next year it must do its best. If staff are still unaware and do nothing, they will not have enough time to fight back. Today very little time remains. Today there is no comfort zone. Everyone will die if the vessel sinks.”
THAI would cut costs by reducing the salaries of managerial staff and following a zero inventory policy at its catering department, he said.
“There will be no other rewards for the staff, because the top prize is the survival of the company,” Mr Sumeth said.
In the first half of this year, THAI posted a loss of B6.44 billion, raising its accumulated loss to B280bn. It employs more than 20,000 people.
Mr Sumeth’s warning today followed him yesterday announcing that THAI is planning to cancel six flight routes to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.
He said these routes are all covered by a small number of flights and have low customer capacity, and THAI will assign Thai Smile Airways to cover these routes instead, reported state news agency NNT.
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