BANGKOK: -- Thai Airways International Plc will next week start executing an aggressive second-half business plan to achieve its full-year targets for sales growth of 11% and net profit of Bt6 billion amid increasingly fierce competition, particularly from the entry of low-cost carriers here.

The national carrier has projected 2013 sales at Bt224 billion, but its performance in the second quarter was worse than expected, compared to the same quarter last year. It was hit by the strengthening of the baht and the weakening of the Japanese yen and euro. Especially the yen, which plunged 17-20%.

Despite the projection for the overall industry to expand by only 3-3.5%, first-half results were still positive and the airline was confident it would achieve its business metrics by the end of this year, .

To ensure the airline meets its sales goals for the entire year, Chokchai will spearhead the team to boost sales by 10-15% this half year.

The focus would be more on fast-growing regional markets offering higher margins, particularly China and Japan. The two countries are still growing and demand there for air travel will be on the rise. Russia is also on the radar screen.

Even though Europe is in dire financial straits and its economic prospects are blurry, the market is still important and the airline will continue focusing on it to maintain its passenger base.

Europe and Asia contribute 45% of sales each, while 10% comes from the domestic market. In the future, Asia is expected to increase to 50%.

THAI has 91 aircraft in its fleet, with 58 more arriving in 2017.