Hundreds of the national carrier's who are over 45 years old are reportedly applying for early retirement, a scheme which was suggested by THAI's union, according to the airline's president, Dr Piyasvati Amranand.
THAI has 6,000 cabin staff of whom about 1,000 are over 45 years old. In many airlines - those above this age are transferred to ground operations. But in 1990s the late former transport minister Montree Pongpanit changed the ceiling to 60 years of age.
Piyasvati said the early retirement of older cabin crew will help THAI to further cut operating costs as younger staff have lower salaries.
Piyasvati provided update on the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate THAI at an address at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Thursday night. He has been at the carrier's helm for six weeks now. THAI is seeing revival in traffic and passengers in this last quarter although fares remained depressed due to intense competition in the airline industry. The carrier reported a loss in the last quarter.
"We have to become competitive and efficient…and able to adapt to changed environment quickly," he said, while adding that the overall strategic plan will be ready next month as part of the goal to become the top 3 airliners in Asia and top 5 in the world.
In his update - Piyasvati said he found THAI's staff "surprisingly good - better than expected - with good intention and hard work". He stressed the paramount aim of THAI becoming more "customers' oriented" - especially in services that would involve a host of operations from call centre, to check-in and meals.
He said full breakfast on Qantas, Thai dishes on Cathay Pacific which are renowned are actually supplied by THAI's own kitchen. "There are several things we can improve at all touch points without incurring costs."
Meanwhile, Piyasvati said THAI will work closely with Nok Air, its low budget subsidiary, as a buffer against other low cost airliners. THAI also intends to form alliances with other Thai airliners such as Bangkok Airways - something he described as a united pact - to fight other low costs such as Air Asia.
Talks have also taken place with the AOT Plc, the operator of Suvanabhumi airport whose relations with THAI was described as "surprisingly bad". Piyasvati declined to provide details but said THAI is looking to reduce its check-in space on 1st class passengers and to have more of its aircraft taxied nearly immigration and baggage areas.