PROFITS AT Thai Airways were almost halved over the latest quarter to the end of June, as it counted the cost of a massive increase in salary bills, and the continued impact of fuel price rises.

Pre-tax profits slumped to just under Baht413 million ($12 million) over the quarter, which is the third in Thai's 1996/7 financial year. The carrier blames cost-of-living increases, which pushed up its personnel costs by 18 .6% in the quarter. Rising oil prices and increased flying also raised the fuel charge by another 11%, although the worst of the rise came earlier in the year.

The result now leaves Thai going towards its year-end results showing an 18%fall in profits after the first nine months. That came despite a 5.6% growth in sales.

Source: Flight International