Thai Airways International's newly appointed president has outlined details about the carrier's financial turnaround effort that includes a new fleet plan and cuts to expenses.

"Thai is expected to cut non-fuel expenses by 18 billion Thai baht ($540 million) this year," says president Piyasvasti Amranand, who was appointed in June to help turn around the loss-making carrier.

"Senior executive and staff benefits are all on review including seat perks and other benefits," he says.

Thai aims to also cut loss-making routes and make use of cheaper sales channels such as the internet, says the president.

To help with the financial turnaround, Thai will co-operate more closely with Star Alliance carriers and Thai's low-cost carrier Nok Air, he adds. Thai is reportedly looking to transfer more of its Boeing 737-400s and domestic routes to Nok.

Piyasvasti says Thai will lease more aircraft in future - rather than relying so much on aircraft purchases - and that next month it will have completed a fleet plan to be implemented in 2010.

This is part of the carrier's new four-year strategic plan that aims to reduce the carrier's 160 billion Thai baht debt, he says.

Even though it aims to reduce debt, Piyasvasti adds that the carrier is considering a re-capitalisation.

Earlier this year Thai secured 23 billion Thai baht of funding from four banks: the Government Savings Bank, Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank and Siam Commercial Bank.

Piyasvasti's appointment came after the airline posted some large quarterly losses.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news