Thai Airways reported a net loss of THB6.9 billion ($223.8 million) for the June quarter, more than double the THB3.1 billion loss in last year’s second quarter.

The carrier’s revenue dropped by 10% to THB42.5 billion, as a result of the softer tourism market, increased competition on international routes, and the grounding of some of its Boeing 787s because of engine issues.

Overall tourist numbers to Thailand were up by just 1.1% year-on-year in the June quarter, Thai Airways said. However, tourists from the key China market dropped by 8.2%, compared to a 21.3% increase in the same period a year earlier. Chinese tourists comprise 28% of the country’s total visitors. “The expansion of the tourist sector has decreased considerably,” Thai Airways said.

Passenger revenue fell by 6.1%, and this was overshadowed by an 18.8% fall in freight and mail revenue. The cargo slump was exacerbated by slowing exports and the effects of the US-China trade war.

Operating costs declined by 0.8%, helped by a 2% year-on-year drop in fuel cost. However, this was not enough to offset the revenue slide, and Thai Airways’ operating loss ballooned to THB7.1 billion, compared to THB2.8 billion a year earlier.

The group’s passenger traffic fell by 5.4% year-on-year, with capacity down by 4%. This caused load factor to fall 1.1 points to 74.7%. Passenger yield dropped 1.4%. The picture was bleaker for cargo, with traffic down 16.3% on a 3.4% capacity decline.

Thai and its subsidiaries had a total of 103 active aircraft as of June 30, which was two less than at the same point last year. It was reported at the IATA AGM in June that the carrier’s expanded fleet acquisition plan was progressing toward the final stages of government review for 38 aircraft, including widebody and narrowbody models.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com