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Thai Airways meeting over rising fuel bill sought by finance ministry - report


BANGKOK (XFNews) - Thai finance minister and former Thai Airways International chairman Thanong Bidaya is seeking urgent talks with the airline's executives in the face of rising fuel bills, the Nation reported.

The finance ministry is currently the single largest shareholder of the troubled national airline.

Thanong, who was the airline's chairman until becoming minister in August, is concerned about the carrier's future amid rising oil prices and relocation plans to the new Bangkok international airport, the report said.

The airline in August announced it had lost 4.78 bln baht in its third quarter after being hit by soaring jet fuel costs and increased personnel expenses, but said it would turn a profit by the fourth quarter.

"The Finance Ministry will let the Transport Ministry have a free hand to guide the airline but we, as its major shareholder, are interested in the financial aspects," Thanong was quoted as saying.

The ministry, which as of January held a 54-pct stake in the listed company, wants the meeting because the government is concerned about its rising costs, the report said.

"Its problem is due mainly to high fuel bills and I want to know how the company plans to improve its performance to benefit from the opening of (the new) Suvarnabhumi airport next year," Thanong said.

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