BANGKOK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Seven Thai airlines are seeking a combined 24 billion baht ($770 million) in low interest loans and other support measures, the government said on Friday, joining carriers across the world in requesting state help to weather the coronavirus crisis.
Airline executives made the request to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, aiming to maintain liquidity and avoid layoffs, the government said in a statement.
“The government will consider the requests from the airlines and find ways to support operations, including unlocking air travel, and boost domestic tourism,” Prayuth said.
The airlines, mostly low-cost carriers, are Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai Smile, Thai Lion Air, Thai Viet, Nok Airlines and boutique carrier Bangkok Airways Pcl .
NokScoot entered liquidation in June, months after the carriers previously sought similar terms in April.
Commercial air travel has all but stopped as the coronavirus continues to spread and Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy contracted over 12% in the April-June period, hit by a decline in its tourism sector.
Thailand, which had a record 39.8 million tourist arrivals last year, has recorded no foreign visitors since April when it imposed a travel ban.
The government this month scrapped plans for a “travel bubble” agreement with select countries as the number of infections rose in Asia.
National carrier Thai Airways International Pcl has been under bankruptcy protection since May and a court will decide in September if the company can go ahead with restructuring proposals.
Its budget arm Nok Airlines in July received bankruptcy protection.
The airlines also urged the government to extend a tax deduction for jet fuel and reduce landing and parking fees at airports.
$1 = 31.1400 baht Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Mark Potter
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