Thai Airways posts fourth successive loss in Q1 due to unrest

BANGKOK Thu May 15, 2014 6:18am EDT

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BANGKOK May 15 (Reuters) - Thai Airways International posted a fourth successive losss in the first quarter, hit by weakness in tourism caused by prolonged political unrest in Thailand plus fierce competition from low-cost and regional rivals.

The national carrier reported a net loss of 2.63 billion baht ($81.09 million), which was lower than the average loss of 2.78 billion forecast by six analysts polled by Reuters.

It compares with a loss of 5.65 billion baht in the previous quarter and a profit of 8.28 billion in the first quarter last year.

Asia Aviation Pcl, major shareholder of budget carrier Thai AirAsia, posted a 65 percent drop in net profit in the first quarter, while Nok Airlines Pcl reported a 90 percent decline in net earnings for the period.

On Wednesday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand cut its forecast for 2014 foreign tourist arrivals to 26.3 million, the lowest in five years, from a previous estimate of 28 million because of the unrest.

Shares in Thai Airways, valued at $877 million on the bourse, have tumbled two-thirds in the past 12 months, underperforming a 15 percent drop in the main Thai index . ($1 = 32.4350 Thai Baht) (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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