* Says has asked strategy department to examine potential
* Says partnership is one way to offset rising fuel costs
* Says not in talks now with any Gulf carrier
By Marilyn Gerlach
FRANKFURT, Nov 2 Thai Airways will
actively seek partnerships with other airlines to counter
surging fuel prices, its new president told Reuters in an
With fuel accounting for a huge chunk of operating
expenditure, some carriers have rejigged their alliances, a few
of them by partnering with Gulf carriers.
Australia's struggling Qantas Airways clinched a
10-year alliance with Dubai's Emirates in September, while Air
France-KLM agreed on a code-share agreement with
Etihad and Air Berlin in October.
"Since I took office a few weeks ago, I've been talking to
our strategy department about greater partnerships with other
airlines because that's the way to go into the future with the
fuel prices," Sorajak Kasemsuvan said on the sidelines of an
event in Frankfurt late Thursday.
Kasemsuvan, appointed in September, said he planned to talk
to as many potential partners as possible, although it was
unlikely a deal could be done this year.
"If the fuel prices are like this, you cannot go alone," he
Thai said in August it expected to miss its 2012 net profit
target of 6 billion Thai baht ($195 million) due to higher fuel
costs although revenues were expected to rise by about 3
Asked if any of the three big Middle Eastern airlines -
Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways - had
approached Thai for possible tie-ups, Kasemsuvan said: "In the
past, I think one of them had talked to us, but not right now."
While saying he would be keen to talk to any airline next
year, Kasemsuvan said Thai's partners in the Star Alliance would
be his priority when seeking partnerships. The 27-member group
includes Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Singapore Airlines
"In the past Thai Airways may not have been forceful enough
in approaching partnership but I think we'll go for greater
partnerships and alliances," Kasemsuvan said.