More than 100 former and incumbent MPs are being blamed for Nok Air incurring 3.5 million baht in losses for flights they booked but never showed up for, according to Somboon Uthaiwiankul, secretary of House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.
Somboon said the issue was raised by executives of the airline during a conversation with Chuan recently. They met the House speaker to offer him their best wishes on his birthday on July 28. The executives told Chuan that 113 former and current MPs have not paid for seats they reserved on Nok Air flights which they later failed to show up for, said Somboon.
The airline could not make the reserved seats available to other customers and the MPs did not cancel the reservations, which meant the company, already battered financially, incurred further losses. Nok Air has filed for rehabilitation protection with the Central Bankruptcy Court.
Somboon said the airline complained that it could not obtain reimbursements from parliament because the MPs did not actually travel on the flights.
Normally, low-cost carriers such as Thai AirAsia require payments for air tickets to be made at the time of booking. The airfares become expensive during peak periods.
Somboon said at least five MPs each caused the airline losses of over 100,000 baht. They are well-known and wealthy people.
According to Somboon, Chuan deemed the issue a personal matter to be settled by the individual MPs.
It is the responsibility of the MPs to account for their own actions, Somboon said quoting Chuan.
At the end of last month, Nok Air was reported to have 26.79 billion baht worth of debt as of March 31.
Nok Air chief executive Wutthiphum Jurangkool said Covid-19 prevented the airline from flying its 18 international routes, while domestic flights were at 30 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule.