Aerospace Council: State of the Thai Aviation Industry: A View from the CAAT

Aerospace Council: State of the Thai Aviation Industry: A View from the CAAT

On January 20, to over 60 attendees, AMCHAM’s Aerospace Council presented State of Thai Aviation Industry: A View from the CAAT. The focus of the event was to learn and discuss how the Thai aviation industry is coping with the new outbreak, what their strategies are for the future, and how the government can extend a helping hand. AMCHAM’s Aerospace Council Co-Chair, Barry Crawford, shared the Council’s plan for upcoming events in 2021 before introducing keynote speaker, Dr. Sarun Benjanirat, Acting Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

Dr. Sarun shared statistics on the decrease in airplane seats, passengers, and overall revenue in the aviation industry worldwide. Thailand numbers of passengers coming to and going from the kingdom has also dropped from 165 million in 2019 to barely 60 million in 2020. He noted that domestic flights seem to have made a slight recovery in the second half of the 2020 but international flights are still much below average numbers. Through a joint forecast with Chulalongkorn University, airports in Bangkok and Thai local airlines, the CAAT reported that in the best case, the number of passengers will return to its baseline level in 2023, while returning only until 2025 in the  worst case.

The Director General also reviewed some government measures in 2020 ranging from airlines cost reduction (reducing parking charge, air navigation charge, airport space rental fee) to extending credit terms for a majority of airlines. During the Question and Answer session, members asked questions regarding government support for airlines recovery, airlines carrying cargo in passenger cabins, policy allowing passengers to enter Thailand after receiving the vaccine, and investing in human capital through the Civil Aviation Training Center.

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