Thai Airways International expects to complete its corporate restructuring in two years as the airline’s performance gradually improves and global travel resumes, its restructuring committee chief said on Friday.

Cabin factor, a measure of how well an airline does in filling seats, reached 70% by last month and was near 90% on European routes, Piyasvasti Amranand said.

Thai Airways entered bankruptcy last year to restructure 400 billion baht ($11.25 billion) of debt and previously sought 50 billion baht of loans for liquidity.

Thai state agencies will own about 40% of the airline after restructuring, down from current levels of 67%.

The overhaul included re-hiring Piyasvasti, who was its president in a previous effort to steer the flag carrier out of financial trouble a decade ago.

Thai Airways carried about 19 million passengers before the pandemic and is targeting 9.18 million next year, 11.8 million in 2024 and 12.44 million in 2025.

It had 4.48 million in the first six month of this year.

“The problem now is the north (Asia) because there are limitations to travel, especially China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan,” he told a news conference.

“But in other regions, everything has been lifted and there is a lot of travel.”

He said the airline had reviewed its borrowing needs and would take long-term loans of 12.5 billion baht, which could be converted to equity. Short-term loans of the same value without the conversion option were also on the table, he said.

The Airways also plans to issue new shares and offer creditors debt-to-equity options.

The airline has ample liquidity of around 14 billion baht and has raised about 9.2 billion baht from asset sales, including a Bangkok training centre, said Piyasvasti, adding 12 planes would be sold.

Southeast Asian carriers were hard hit by the pandemic, with Malaysia Airlines, Garuda Indonesia GIAA.JK and Philippine Airlines also undergoing court-led restructuring.

Source: Reuters