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.
Mr Uthaiwiankul said the issue was raised by executives of the airline during a conversation with Mr Leekpai recently. They met the House speaker to offer him their best wishes on his birthday on 28th July. The executives told Mr Leekpai 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 Mr Uthaiwiankul.
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.
Mr Uthaiwiankul 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.
Mr Uthaiwiankul said at least five MPs each caused the airline losses of over 100,000 baht. They are well-known and wealthy people.
According to Mr Uthaiwiankul, Mr Leekpai 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, Mr Uthaiwiankul said quoting Mr Leekpai.
At the end of last month, Nok Air was reported to have 26.79 billion baht worth of debt as of 31st March.
Nok Air chief executive Wutthiphum Jurangkool said COVID-19 prevented the airline from flying its 18 international routes, while domestic flights were at 30% of its pre-pandemic schedule.