John Frangos, partner and deputy director of Tilleke & Gibbins’ dispute resolution department, was quoted extensively in a recent article on the progress of the ongoing business rehabilitation of Thai Airways. The analysis, titled “Lessors submit proposals to Thai Airways—reluctantly,” was put together by airline industry business information provider Cirium and shared through FlightGlobal, the world’s leading publisher of news, analysis, and other content for the aviation industry.
The article focuses first on aircraft lessors’ participation in the recently-ended period to submit offers to Thai Airways detailing concessions for the struggling carrier, which is currently undergoing business rehabilitation directed by Thailand’s courts. While many lessors submitted offers, some did so only reluctantly, as there is still much uncertainty regarding the airline’s plans. As John explained in the article, “I think aircraft lessors just want to understand what Thai Airways’ intentions are, but that’s very challenging right now because Thai is still preparing their rehabilitation plan.”
John also discussed what can be expected from the ongoing business rehabilitation process, which he noted was the largest bankruptcy case in Thai history. After telling Cirium that the official rehabilitation plan was still being drafted, John went on to say, “When the draft plan is released, the creditors will have the opportunity to vote on it, and then the court will consider whether to approve it. If it passes both hurdles, a plan administrator will implement the plan, and Thai Airways will then have to follow it for next few years. Until that plan is complete, and there’s more of a long-term picture of what Thai Airways will do, it’s very challenging for lessors to anticipate what Thai’s needs will be.”
John’s insights for operators in the aviation industry in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia are especially valuable in dealing with the drastic reduction in air travel since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though much remains unsettled, the guidance of aviation legal and business experts is keeping companies and investors informed as they develop mitigation plans.
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