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NEWS UPDATES 17 August 2010

Foreign exchange helps Thai Air income

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Foreign exchange gains turned an expected second quarter loss to a gain at Thai Airways International. Political unrest in Bangkok caused by protests occurred during the second quarter and that dampened the airline’s outlook.

But the carrier instead showed a net profit of 1.55 billion baht, against a net loss of 5.4 billion baht, in the same period last year, the airline said in a statement. A foreign exchange gain of 4.39 billion baht and other factors including increased revenue, continued cost-cutting measures and greater cargo volume aided the second quarter results.

These factors overcame the negatives of lower traffic during the volcanic eruption in Iceland, domestic political unrest and the low travel season. The president of THAI, Piyasvasti Amranand, earlier said the country's political turmoil that killed 90 and wounded nearly 2,000, had caused a six billion baht revenue shortfall that would be reflected in the airline's second-quarter results.

As a result, the airline's average cabin factor was 1.6 percent down slightly from the same period last year.

Cargo traffic benefited from the global economic recovery and healthy Thai exports, boosting the average freight load factor by about 16 percent from the same time frame last year..

The carrier's cargo revenue soared 75% year-on-year to seven billion baht in the second quarter.

Thai Air has made headway in non-fuel savings by reducing costs by three billion baht so far this year on top of 12 billion baht achieved last year.

It has committed to a cost control plan that envisages non-fuel costs declining by 20 billion baht from 2010-12.

For the first half of this year, THAI posted a net profit of 12.3 billion baht (7.23 baht a share), up from 2.46 billion baht (1.45 baht a share) in the same period last year.

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