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Thai Airways Q1 profit up by a third, fuel costs down

[BANGKOK] Thai Airways International PCL said its quarterly net profit surged by a third, its second consecutive quarter of profits, helped by a drop in fuel expenses as the flag carrier enters a second phase of restructuring.

Net profit was 6 billion baht (S$232.43 million) for the January-March quarter, up 32 per cent from 4.54 billion baht a year earlier, the airline said in a statement.

Thai Airways is one of several state-controlled companies undergoing reform since the military seized power in May 2014. It had returned to profit in the fourth quarter, shrinking its 2015 loss as a restructuring that reduced operating costs and boosted passenger revenues bore fruit.

The airline, which carried 5.3 per cent more passengers in the quarter, posted an operating profit of 7.2 billion baht, up 63 per cent, while passenger yield fell 3.8 per cent due to fierce competition, it said.

Fuel expenses dropped by a quarter after a 37.6 per cent fall in jet fuel prices, it said.

Cost cutting and boosting revenue were among strategies to improve operations in 2016, President Charumporn Jotikasthira said.

Thai Airways had 95 active aircrafts in its fleet, 9 less than a year earlier. It plans to take delivery of 2 Airbus A350-900XWB planes this year and to sell 14 decommissioned aircraft in December, it said.

The airline's stock is up 72 per cent so far this year, the second best performer among the world's 85 airlines, according to Thomson Reuters.

REUTERS