Thai AirAsia is to undergo a shareholding change to return to compliance with Thailand’s airline ownership laws.

The shareholding revamp came as a result of a change in ownership of Thai AirAsia’s 50% owner Shin Corp, a Thai telecommunications conglomerate. Shin Corp recently came under the control of Singapore government investment arm Temasek Holdings, leaving Thai AirAsia – 49%-owned by Malaysia’s AirAsia – effectively majority controlled by foreign concerns.

A new holding company, Asia Aviation, has now acquired all the shares in Thai AirAsia that were held by Shin Corp. Asia Aviation is 51%-owned by Thai national Sittichai Veerathummnoon, while Shin Corp has 49%. Despite Shin Corp still having indirect ownership of Thai AirAsia, the airline insists it now meets Thai rules requiring carriers to be majority controlled by locals.

Another controversy surrounding the sale of Shin Corp to Temasek overshadowed questions raised by some about the airline deal. Shin Corp was founded by Thailand’s current prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Malaysia’s AirAsia has retained its 49% of AirAsia while Thai AirAsia chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld has retained 1%. ■

Source: Airline Business