Thai Airways International will ground 69 of 82 aircraft in its fleet and is looking for ways to boost finances as it battles the coronavirus crisis.

The carrier said on 30 March that the figure excludes budget unit Thai Smile, which continues to operate domestic flights.

Low-cost rival Thai AirAsia has said it will halt all domestic services during the month of April, having suspended international flights since 22 March.

Like other carriers, Thai Airways will continue to operate cargo flights. It adds that it is ready to operate repatriation flights to pick up stranded travellers should this be required by governments.

“Thai continues to explore measures to shore up its liquidity during this unprecedented disruption to global air travel,” the carrier states, adding it would release details when such measures have been firmed up.

In 2019, the carrier’s losses widened by Bt3.4 billion to Bt12.4 billion, as revenues fell despite increased passenger numbers.

Selling and leasing back aircraft, as well as other forms of capital injections are being considered, the deputy transport minister Thaworn Senniam was quoted as saying on 30 March in a Reuters report.

He added that the carrier may even ground some aircraft types permanently.

The same report also quotes him as saying, “We have to reduce aircraft types to as much as possible to reduce cost… We can take out old aircraft, replace them with new ones through leasing or other procurement methods.”

Separately, the carrier disclosed that Pongchai Amatanon has resigned from the board of directors, effective March 28. The follows the resignation of president Sumeth Damrongchaitham earlier in March, who is leaving on 11 April.