Singha Beer Baron Grounds PB Air

BOON RAWD Brewery baron Piya Bhirom Bhakdi, who founded PB Air in 1990, has decided to close down the carrier following his attempts to find a foreign buyer, failed.  It is believed that Mr Piya has opted to devote his financial resources and attention to his new luxury hospitality venture, the 3 billion baht Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi’s Phulay Bay, which was due to open at the end of December 2009.  The airline had accumulated losses of 2 billion baht and its future prospects were looking very poor.  PB Air is in the process of being wound up and its chief executive Pornsartid Naruenartwanich recently resigned.
Industry sources said PB Air had hoped to find foreign backers to support its revised business plan, which included leasing two Saab 340s from US-based lessor, AeroCentury.  The inability to reach an agreement with prospective partners and delays in the delivery of the two Saabs forced it to suspend all its flights, as it had no aircraft at its disposal.  The two ATR 72-500s it had been operating under lease from Bangkok Airways were returned in October 2009 when their contracts expired.  As a result of the closure of PB Air, Thai authorities have asked Nok Air, the budget airline that is 39% owned by Thai Airways International, to take over three routes once flown by the carrier.