Skift Take

Thai Airways's effort to protect its brand after the crash is having the opposite of its intended effect with social media heavily criticizing the airline for so blatantly trying to avoid taking responsibility of the incident.

Thai Airways has been criticised for blacking out the name of the airline on a plane that skidded off the runway at Bangkok’s main airport.

The airline said that flight TG679 from Guangzhou, China, had a “glitch” in its wheel base while landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport late on Sunday .

Photographs of the incident showed the plane resting in a grass verge beside the runway, with its nose down and emergency slides inflated.

However, the fact the airline had blacked out the Thai Airways logo – apparently in accordance with Star Alliance network guidance on emergency management – drew criticism on social media.

Thai Airways official Smud Poom-On said that “blurring the logo” after an accident was a recommendation from Star Alliance known as the “crisis communication rule,” meant to protect the image of both the airline and other members of Star Alliance.

However, Star Alliance later denied that this was company policy:

In February, Alitalia was accused of blacking out its logo after a similar incident.

Thai Airways said in a statement: “Sparks were noticed from the vicinity of the right landing gear near the engine; the matter is under investigation.”

“The captain took control of the aircraft until it came to a complete stop and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft emergency exits. The operation was conducted by the captain and cabin crew strictly according to emergency procedures.”

About 14 people were slightly injured when they escaped down the emergency slides, Thai Airways president Sorajak Kasemsuvan told local television.

“They were sent to hospital but most of them received treatment and were discharged,” he added.

The incident forced the closure of one of two runways at Bangkok’s main international gateway, causing delays of about 15 minutes for inbound flights and 30 minutes for departing flights, according to air traffic controllers.

The airline said it would take about 24 hours to remove the aircraft.

The incident occurred less than two weeks after 20 passengers were injured when a Thai Airways Airbus A380 hit severe turbulence as it was descending to Hong Kong airport.

November 16, 2022
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX and Online
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Photo credit: An airplane takes off in the distance as airport staff work around a Thai Airways plane that skidded off the runaway while landing at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport September 9, 2013. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters