July 30, 2020 / 1:55 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-Thai court accepts budget carrier Nok Airlines' petition for bankruptcy protection

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BANGKOK, July 30 (Reuters) - Thailand’s bankruptcy court on Thursday said it had accepted a petition from low-cost carrier Nok Airlines Pcl for bankruptcy protection, as the coronavirus pandemic worsened conditions for the struggling airline.

The court set the first day of hearings for Oct. 27. Its acceptance gives the budget carrier an automatic stay on debt worth 26 billion baht ($828 million).

The collapse in travel demand and grounding of flights all over the globe this year due to the coronavirus outbreak has tipped several industry players over the edge.

National carrier Thai Airways, which holds a 13% stake in Nok Airlines, filed for bankruptcy protection in May, while Nok Airlines’ subsidiary, NokScoot Airlines, entered liquidation the following month.

Nok Airlines has booked losses since 2014.

The airline said on its Facebook page on Thursday that despite its request for bankruptcy rehabilitation, it was continuing services as normal. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jan Harvey)

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