IATA: Thai Airways president seeks answers for 'ludicrous' termination

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With 10 days left as Thai Airways' president, Piyasvasti Amranand wants the company's board to give the public, its shareholders and employees a "credible reason" for his dismissal.

His contract was terminated on 21 May after a board meeting. The board cited "communication issues" as the main reason.

"That's ludicrous. If I had communication problems, how could I push through all these changes in the airline, the financial capital increase, acquisition of 52 new aircraft - the biggest ever in Thai corporate history?" says the former government minister.

He was not taken completely by surprise since "there have been rumours for quite some time, since the change in government".

The board had also changed tact and attributed his termination to a disagreement over plans to acquire 38 new generation aircraft for future fleet replacement, says Amranand. He adds that not all understand that Thai, though a state enterprise, is listed and needs to compete with international players where fuel-efficient aircraft can make a big difference in earnings.

He also expects the carrier to be profitable this year, adding that its average load factor had hit 78%, the highest in years. Next month, it will launch its new regional subsidiary Thai Smile.

"It's been an interesting two years. The termination came at a good time for me because the company is making profit and things are moving in the right direction. It's a bad time for the board because they have not been able to give a credible reason."

Amranand, appointed president in 2009, had publicly taken the government to task several times, especially in their refusal to give the green light to form a joint venture with Tiger Airways, a move sources say had made him unpopular with many in the government.