Thai govt prepares to help stricken Thai Airways

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Thailand's government is prepared to step in to help national carrier Thai Airways cope with falling revenues amid the ongoing global economic crisis.

"The problem at Thai Airways is very alarming and the government will take care of it absolutely," deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban was quoted as saying in Thai newspapers.

His comments come after Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said on 26 January that the carrier had to submit a detailed recovery plan in order to receive taxpayer funds. Suthep added that the "government is very concerned because as of now the airline still has not submitted its rehabilitation plan."

The Star Alliance member said last week that it needed 19 billion baht ($55 million) to ease its liquidity problems in 2009, and hopes to raise another 15 billion baht to replace short-term debt.

It also said that it would move all remaining domestic flights from Bangkok's decades-old Don Muang airport to the new Suvarnabhumi Airport, a measure that would save up to 700 million baht, and has asked to delay the delivery of six A330 aircraft

The carrier's VP of investor relations, Raj Tanta-nanta, told ATI on 20 January that Thai wants to raise billions of baht by getting a bridging loan from the Thai Government. In February, it is expected to announce a loss for the fourth quarter of last year and blames its financial woes on the global financial crisis and the temporary closure late last year of Bangkok's two major airports.