Thai Airways International has announced an annualised net loss of Bt21.31 billion for last year.
Of that, Bt14.7 billion was from the fourth quarter alone, due to the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport and the global economic downturn's effect on travel demand.
In 2007, the company enjoyed a net profit of Bt4.3 billion.
Last year's net loss was worse than analysts' estimates of about Bt13 billion.
Still, Transport Ministry permanent secretary Surachai Tansitpong, who is also chairman of THAI's board, believes the airline will return to the black this year on revenue of Bt4 billion, thanks to cost-cutting and weaker oil prices.
He said the situation had already improved in the first two months of the year, which would reduce THAI's demand for liquidity from Bt34 billion to Bt20 billion. The airline raised Bt22 billion in loans last month to help overcome a liquidity shortage.
Surachai said the board yesterday approved a business-improvement plan featuring short-, medium- and long-term measures.
Pichai Chunhavajira, a director who chairs the committee in charge of the plan, said it would be finalised within a month and then submitted to the Transport Ministry for approval before being implemented in April. Surachai said THAI would focus on increasing its cash flow, improving asset management and improving its debt and fund structures, to shore up liquidity.
The airline will also concentrate on increasing revenue, improving operational efficiency, enhancing product and service quality and improving cost management.
"The whole strategic plan is aimed at increasing yield and reducing operating costs," he said.
As per its cost-reduction plan, the airline expects to reduce costs 5 per cent in the first year, rising to 20 per cent per year in 2012.
THAI booked a foreign-exchange loss of Bt4.47 billion last year. It also reported Bt4.43 billion in provisions against the declining value of aircraft it intends to sell.
Its passenger traffic plunged 35 per cent in last year's fourth quarter after protesters shut Suvarnabhumi Airport during the nation's peak tourism season, stranding some 400,000 travellers.