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Thai Airways sets US$169m early retirement budget for 2015
[BANGKOK] Thai Airways International Pcl said on Friday it had budgeted 5.5 billion baht (S$229 million) for its early retirement plan in 2015 and expected to finalise in the second quarter the number of staff that are keen to join the scheme.
The national carrier, which is undergoing major restructuring, aims to cut 2,000 jobs through a voluntary retirement scheme this year as part of its plan to reduce headcount by 5,000 in the next few years.
"We announced the early retirement scheme to staff last week and it takes time to summarise about the number of staff," President Charumporn Jitikasthira said after a board meeting.
Thai Airways, which aims to sell planes to reduce fleet size, has seen an improvement in passenger numbers with first-quarter cabin factor, or the per centage of seats sold, rising to 76 per cent versus 68.9 per cent in 2014, Mr Charumporn said.
The airline plans to launch a marketing strategy to keep its cabin factor steady at 76 per cent in the second quarter, the low season for travel, he said.
Thai Airways may however book rising costs related to safety concerns as it faces stricter security checks at every destination the airline flies to, Mr Charumporn said, adding the frequency of inspections rose to 20 times in March alone compared with the normal five times a month.
Safety concerns were raised in late March after an international audit that prompted Japan and South Korea to impose bans on charter and new scheduled flights by Thai-registered airlines.