Bangkok : Sumet Damrongchaitham, President of Thai Airways said on March 14 that he decided to resign after "those in power" told him that he was done with his mission.
He had tendered his resignation to pave the way for the THAI board to find a more appropriate replacement who can follow the board's policy, the outgoing President said.
Even if there had been no COVID-19 outbreak, THAI still could not afford to remain the way it is as the national flag carrier, he added.
He said when he became the President of THAI, he had plans to work with THAI staff to turn around the loss-ridden airline, though unfortunately THAI was constantly plagued with crises last year.
Sumeth assumed the post of President in September, 2018 and submitted his resignation on March 11, effective from April 11. His tenure as THAI president will have lasted 18 months.
Nares Phuangyaem, President of THAI's labour union, questioned why the THAI board had not rejected Sumeth's resignation. Nares said a change of THAI President during a period of uncertainty will leave the organisation directionless.
Nares also said that the union believed Sumeth was forced to quit under pressure stemming from the government's lack of support for his plans to rehabilitate THAI and purchase new aircraft.
Sumeth is one of two high-profile executives in the aviation industry to quit amid speculation that their decisions were linked to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wg Cdr Suthirawat Suwanawat, General Manager of Suvarnabhumi airport, also resigned on March 14 to take responsibility for Thai returnees from South Korea slipping through the screening process.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said that he had not yet approved Wg Cdr Suthirawat's resignation and that he would discuss details with him shortly.