Preparing for take-off

New THAI president excited by times ahead

The new president of Thai Airways International (THAI) is confident the airline's fortunes will turn around soon when the flag carrier introduces its best-ever "products" next year.

Sorajak: Lays out plans for the future

Sorajak Kasemsuvan told the Bangkok Post that although the airline would have a heavier debt burden this coming year, at the same time it would have "the best products in its history".

He was referring to the delivery of 17 new airplanes and the installation of new seats on all existing planes in the national airline's fleet next year.

Mr Sorajak will also speed up plans to lease nine Airbus A320 aircraft for THAI Smile Airways. He sees these as opportunities to raise THAI's revenues.

Mr Sorajak also intends to apply new technology to increase income. He said next year would be THAI Digital Year and ideas are in the works to digitise THAI's overall operations.

"Working people must maximise the use of technologies. The airline must apply IT [information technology] to manage its sales and organisation. If IT is applied, there will be the image of advancement and attractiveness.

"So I have set 2013 as the THAI Digital Year and will conduct workshops with all sections and departments so they can help iron out what can be digitised," Mr Sorajak said.

He said he believes THAI should increase online ticket sales to raise revenue and reduce the number of empty seats on flights.

He admitted ticket sales through agents remained necessary, especially for overseas markets. He also noted that ticket prices had to be as flexible as possible to increase competitiveness.

Mr Sorajak promised that improvements in the way tickets are sold would take shape in the next few weeks.

Apart from having great products, the THAI president plans to present "the best restaurant in the sky" on THAI flights.

This will be achieved with quality and well-known Thai dishes. He wants THAI to serve complete Thai menus on flights.

"I will introduce a 'Customer Food Board' and invite famous figures in the food business such as Chef McDang, Pol Tantasatien, Chakrit Yamnam and Mrs Rapeepan Luangaramrat or Khun Reed to endorse in-flight meals, and together with the Commerce Ministry, I will introduce 'Thai Select' to certify Thai dishes aboard THAI flights to increase the standard of in-flight meals," Mr Sorajak said.

After revamping in-flight meals, he plans to promote THAI's Puff & Pie outlets to raise more revenue.

Mr Sorajak said THAI shops at airports and on flights would sell THAI premium products and bakery items under the One-Tambon-One-Product scheme.

Customers could choose products from mail order catalogues. These plans will be ironed out next year.

The THAI president said he also wanted to boost staff morale.

He said he is aware divisions exist and he is determined to use fair means to encourage staff to improve the organisation and its services. The airline would pay more generous bonuses if it successful with its revenue-boosting plans. Mr Sorajak has another two years and four months in charge before he reaches the retirement age of 60 years old.

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About the author

columnist
Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
Position: Reporter