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Troubled Thai Airways pursues a perilous expansion

Reorganization strategy remains unclear, but involves pricey purchase of 23 planes

Thai Airways looks to buy 23 more planes as part of an expansion plan to clear the carrier's losses by 2022.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Struggling national carrier Thai Airways International is set to invest 100 billion baht ($3.06 billion) to buy 23 passenger planes, embarking on a risky expansion as it continues to search for a successful restructuring strategy.

Expansion may be an appealing option for a state-owned airline reluctant to wield the ax due to the existence of various vested interests, but that strategy could put the company into deeper trouble. Thai Airways booked a net profit only once in five years through 2017, with accumulated losses of 24.4 billion baht as of the end of June. Rival Singapore Airlines, meanwhile, continues to churn out profit.

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