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Old January 18th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #561
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Old January 18th, 2010, 01:19 PM   #562
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Is Thai Airways still going to re-instate flights between BKK and JNB, like they announced in last year that it would resume from end March 2010?
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Old January 18th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #563
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that's 90% going to happen.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:13 PM   #564
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Carriers climb back into comfort zone

Bangkokpost Published: 20/01/2010 at 12:00 AM


The plight of Thai-registered airlines does not seem as bad as feared earlier as several carriers are paying employees bonuses for 2009 and bringing back a pay rise for this year.

Returning from the worst crisis to hit the world's aviation industry, Thai Airways International (THAI), Thai AirAsia and Nok Airlines agreed to reward their staff, citing hard work that turned their balance sheets around.

Less fortunate carriers such as Bangkok Airways cannot do the same.

The flag carrier offered its staff a bonus equivalent to half of their monthly salary for 2009 operation and a maximum 4% pay rise effective this month.

The low-cost carrier Thai AirAsia, 49%-owned by Malaysia-based AirAsia, has granted its 1,700 employees bonuses equivalent to 1-2 months of their salary and an increase of as much as 6% in the 2010 wages, depending on performances.

Nok Airlines, the budget airline 39% owned by THAI, gave its 560 employees an initial one-month bonus and will pay an additional 30% of the monthly salary later this month. It also agreed upon a 3-4% salary increase for 2010.

In spite of stagnant traffic and drops in revenue and profitability, Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), the operator of the kingdom's six major airports, maintained its generous employee rewards.

AoT staff took home a bonus equivalent to four months's salary for their work for the year to last Sept 30. They will also see their monthly paycheques increasing by about 7.5%

In the previous fiscal year, AoT employees enjoyed a seven-month bonus and an average 8% increase in salary.

Executives said the bonuses and pay raises were to reward staff whose contributions enabled their companies to weather the unprecedented storm of oil price spikes, domestic political unrest, global economic crisis and severe travel downturn in the past two years.

Management also saw the need to keep their staff motivated to enable their companies to cope with the continued uncertainties in the operating environment for the new year even though they foresee less pressure.

A dramatic improvement in business in the last quarter of last year, especially during the festive season, largely improved 2009 accounts, as bonuses and pay raises were unthinkable in 2008.

THAI's profit in the last quarter of last year offset the 1.57-billion-baht loss through the first nine months. The airline did not say how much net profit it made for 2009 pending account auditing, though THAI chairman Ampon Kittiampon put the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at around 25 billion baht.

The bonus payment is expected to cost THAI 665 million baht while the pay rise will set it back by about 600 million baht, according to the airline's president, Piyasvasti Amranand.

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Old January 21st, 2010, 07:57 PM   #565
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THAI seeks Bangkok Airways pact

Bangkokpost Published: 21/01/2010 at 12:00 AM


THAI seeks accord with Bangkok AirwaysThai Airways International is looking at Bangkok Airways in a friendlier light as it strives for broad co-operation to eliminate unnecessary competition.

Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth welcomed the flag carrier's overtures, which he termed a good sign amid rising competition from foreign and Thai-foreign owned operators.

A recent meeting between Capt Puttipong and THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand achieved a sense of co-operation that the two Thai airlines can complement each other.

In late November, a few weeks after he assumed the THAI presidency, Dr Piyasvasti called for Thai airlines to form a united front against foreign rivals, especially the fledging budget carrier Air-Asia, whose rapid expansion he designated a ''threat''.

''We can co-operate by avoiding route and flight schedule overlapping and by establishing more code-shares,'' Dr Piyasvasti told Capt Puttipong.

''THAI can concentrate on international routes while we can play a feeder role by transferring their passengers into our domestic and regional routes,'' said Capt Puttipong.

The two airlines could also work together on THAI's proposed establishment of a flying academy. Their different aircraft types could enable pilots to be trained on a wider variety of planes, he added. But he ruled out Bangkok Airways becoming an equity partner in THAI.

Bangkok Airways is keener to collaborate with THAI than with Orient Thai Airlines and its budget carrier One-Two-Go.

Orient Thai, a privately owned Thai group, approached Bangkok Airways about four months ago regarding an alliance. But Bangkok Airways said discrepancies between the two groups make integration impossible.

The Orient Thai group's business models, operating concepts, aircraft types and routes were seen as totally different from those of Bangkok Airways, which saw no benefits from forming an alliance.
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 07:52 PM   #566
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THAI flies humanitarian aid to Haiti

By The Nation 23/01/2010


Thai Airways International will conduct a humanitarian freighter flight, transporting rice that has been donated from the Government of Thailand to the Republic of Haiti, on February 1.


Piyasvasti Amranand, THAI President, said that THAI is supporting the transport of 100 tonnes of rice from the Government of Thailand to the Republic of Haiti. THAI's humanitarian air shipment will be transported on THAI's cargo freighter Boeing 747-300F aircraft, which the Company obtained for cargo freight transport, on the route Bangkok-Incheon Airport-Alaska-Miami-Dominican Republic.

THAI's freighter will depart from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on 1 February 2010, operating at approximately 36 hours flight time.

Once THAI's humanitarian freighter flight lands at Santo Domingo Airport in the Dominican Republic, UN humanitarian assistance teams will dispatch donated goods to those in need of relief aid in Haiti. Haiti was struck by severe earthquake on 12 January 2010.

THAI's humanitarian support is valued at the equivalent of US$632,000.
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Old January 25th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #567
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THAI Airways to send rice to help Haitian quake victims


BANGKOK, Jan 25 (TNA) – National airline THAI Airways International (THAI) will start transporting the first batch of 100 tonnes of rice to earthquake-hit Haiti on February 1, Thai Airways President Piyasvasti Amranand announced.

The company will arrange a special flight to carry Thai rice donated by the Thai government to the Dominican Republic where a United Nations (UN) centre has been set up to gather aid supplies and donations for earthquake victims.

The national flag carrier will financially support the transportation cost of US$632,000.

The Thai government earlier donated $100,000 to Haiti and 20,000 tonnes of rice is yet to be sent.

Haitian authorities said the January12, magnitude-7 quake killed up to 200,000 people and left up to 3 million injured or homeless. (TNA)
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Old January 26th, 2010, 10:07 AM   #568
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THAI debt restructuring approved

The Nation 26/01/2010


Thai Airways International's board yesterday approved in principle a Bt20-billion debt restructuring plan while setting a performance target for new president Piyasawasdi Amranand.

The board also nominated Pravit Ratanapien, a former science and technology minister, for executive chairman.


Chairman Ampon Kitti-ampon Ampon said the flag carrier would issue new shares and bonds to refinance its short-term debts with longer-term obligations. A capital increase plan will be completed in March or April.


The airline was expected to return to profitability with net earnings of Bt4 billion for fiscal 2009 ended October, from a net loss of more than Bt20 billion in fiscal 2008.


The board set a target for management to achieve at least Bt33 billion in earnings before interest and amortisation.


To cut its losses, the national airline has already decided to drop three domestic routes - Bangkok-Phitsanulok, Bangkok-Ubon Ratchatani and Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son.


Nok Air, a THAI affiliate, has been assigned to take over the services on March 1 because it has a lower cost profile.


THAI is also considering terminating another domestic route, Bangkok-Surat Thani.


The airline will ask the Transport Ministry to subsidise its losses if the government insists that these routes keep operating.


The post of executive chairman needs to be filled after Wallop Bhukkanasut resigned over the excess baggage scandal. He and his wife were found to have violated the airline's regulations by carrying more than 200 kilograms in excess baggage during a November flight from Japan to Thailand without paying.


Wallop was recently charged for over Bt200,000 in excess baggage fees.
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Old January 29th, 2010, 09:30 PM   #569
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New Thai Joint Venture

12/3/2009


Saab has entered into a partnership with Thai company Avia Satcom Co. Ltd., to form a joint venture for developing high technology products within aviation and defence.

The new company, Avia Saab Technologies, will initially focus on the development of a National Tactical Datalink in the Gripen fighter, which has been ordered by the Royal Thai Air Force. The company will be established in 2009 and is to be based in Bangkok, Thailand.

“The joint venture will offer locally developed products for the Thai Armed Forces and the export market. It will also bring investments and leading edge technology to Thailand, and create highly advanced job opportunities for Thai professionals,” says Kaj Rosander, Saab’s Campaign Director for Gripen in Thailand.

Creating high-tech job opportunities in Thailand

“This is really special for Thailand,” says Kajohnsak Watanangura, Avia Satcom’s manager responsible for the joint venture programme. “Firstly, the technology transferred must be developed further before it can be incorporated into the product. This definitely calls for employees who are highly technologically competent, which Thailand has and over time the skill levels will rise even further.”

Among future prospects besides the Tactical Datalink, are Command & Control Systems, Simulators, Training, Mission Support Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems, Upgrade Programs and Logistic Support.

Background

Thailand ordered six Gripen fighters and one Saab 340 Erieye for Airborne Early Warning from the Swedish Government in 2008. Deliveries will begin in 2011. Use the links on the right to learn more about the Thai orders.



Image: Kajohnsak Watanangura, Avia Satcom manager, and Kaj Rosander, Saab’s Campaign Director for Gripen in Thailand, signed the joint venture in Bangkok.

http://www.gripen.com/en/MediaRelati...aviasatcom.htm
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Old February 1st, 2010, 07:49 PM   #570
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Passengers up in the air over budget flight service

Bangkokpost Published: 1/02/2010 at 12:00 AM


Thai Airways International insists it will go ahead with its plan to hand over many of its domestic routes to its low-cost offspring, Nok Air, despite negative feedback from passengers unimpressed with the budget airline.

THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand said on Friday Nok Air would begin operations on the Bangkok to Phitsanulok, Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani and Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son services from March1.

The national carrier wants to rid itself of loss-making services at home and overseas to reduce its operating costs and remain competitive.

Nok Air will also be handed the Bangkok to Surat Thani service, among others, in the future.

Businessmen and politicians who regularly fly the three routes being axed by THAI have lobbied the Transport Ministry and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to try to persuade the national flag carrier to change its mind.

They claim Nok Air offers an inferior service and they have been the victim of several delayed flights when using the airline.

THAI says it loses about 86 million baht a year on flights to Phitsanulok, 75 million baht on the Ubon Ratchathani service and 50 million baht on the short route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. It is unable to make up the losses on other services.

Those making the complaints question the reasons for THAI dropping the services, saying most flights are almost full.

Mr Piyasvasti said passengers should give the low-cost airline a chance to prove itself before protesting.

If Nok Air fails to live up to the standards set by the national carrier, and if there are frequent flight delays or cancellations, THAI would resume services on the three routes, he said.

THAI will oversee Nok's flight operations and services to see that customers' expectations are met.

Mr Piyasvasti said passengers who travel on Nok Air on the three routes would receive the same quality of service as on a THAI flight.

He said THAI is committed to improving its cooperation with Nok Air, not only on flight operations but in marketing as well,

"THAI will have to maintain its brand positioning as the national airline, not as a carrier that competes with low-cost airlines," he said.

"It is not competing with AirAsia, but will send its affiliate, Nok Air, to enter that competition on its behalf. THAI, meanwhile, will focus on competition with other leading airlines."
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 12:20 PM   #571
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PB Air's debts escalate to B2bn

Bangkokpost Published: 2/02/2010 at 12:00 AM


The ongoing liquidation of PB Air has seen its outstanding debts balloon to about 2 billion baht - up from 1.7 billion to 1.8 billion baht - as more creditors rush to seek payments.

Local and international creditors to the carrier, founded by Boon Rawd Brewery baron Piya Bhirom-Bhakdi, now total 400, including 188 laid-off employees who are entitled to as much as 40 million baht in severance payment.

The major creditors include Bangkok Airways, still waiting for about 10 million baht for leasing two ATR 72-500 turboprops to PB Air between April and October last year.

Though it ceased operation in November last year, PB Air officially folded last Dec 21, when it registered for closure with authorities.

PB Air had struggled to stay afloat for 19 years with an accumulated loss of about 2 billion baht due to the poor business environment.

Liquidator Zongsak Phaktachai yesterday insisted the airline had every intention of settling the debts, with former employees the first to get paid.

Employees have already received partial payment with overdue overtime wage and other employee benefits.

Liquidators are compiling the airline's assets including those in its six provincial stations to raise money to clear debts, while creditors have been notified of the amount of debts PB owed, said Mr Zongsak.

He said the chance of PB Air being revived is zero due to too many problems, especially the lack of aircraft of its own.

Company insiders have said Mr Piya decided to end the struggling "great little airline" after failing to find prospective foreign buyers that could provide a capital injection to enable the airline to continue operating.

PB Air had hoped to find foreign partners to support its revised business plan, which included the leasing of two turboprop Saab 340s from the US-based aircraft lessor AeroCentury for five years.

But failures to strike a deal with prospective partners complicated the delivery of the two Saab 340s to PB Air, which was planned for September and October last year.

These two 33-seat planes were supposed to substitute the two ATR 72-500s leased from Bangkok Airways.

The lease of Bangkok Airways's ATR 72-500s came after PB Air returned two Brazilian-made Embraer ERJ 145 LR jets to the American aircraft lessor Gecas on April 18 last year after seven years in the airline's service.

Furthermore, Mr Piya has opted to devote his financial resources and attention to his new luxurious hospitality venture, the 3-billion-baht Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Krabi's Phulay Bay, which was opened last Dec 22.

PB Air operated from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport to six domestic destinations including Lampang, Mae Sot, Nan, Nakhon Phanom, Sakhon Nakhon, Buri Ram and Roi-et.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 07:51 PM   #572
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THAI hatches 'immunity' drive President vows end to unhealthy influence

Bangkokpost Published: 1/02/2010 at 12:00 AM



Thai Airways International's new president wants to inject what he calls an "immune system" into the organisation, to stop outsiders taking advantage.

‘‘THAI is seen from the outside as a privileged club for some people, and that must end. PIYASVASTIAMRANAND PRESIDENT, THAI AIRWAYS INTERNATIONAL
Piyasvasti Amranand says he will need to bring staff on side to fight off what he calls the influence of interfering politicians and greedy executives.

THAI would never live up to its slogan, Smooth as Silk, unless politicians gave management a free hand as they attempt to recover the airline's former prestige.

It was once one of the best airlines in the world, Mr Piyasvasti said.

The national flag carrier has been plagued by political interference, from the purchasing process to appointments of top executives, many of whom lost their jobs upon changes of government, he said.

Mr Piyasvasti himself came to THAI in October with strong backing from the Democrat Party.

The Democrats control the Finance Ministry, which is the major shareholder in the firm, and the Bhumjaithai Party is responsible for the Transport Ministry, which oversees the airline.

The THAI president said he had no problems in dealing with Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum.

But the national flag carrier, not him, needs to increase its strength to shield itself from politicians trying to reap benefits and vested interests from the organisation.

"It all depends on how well THAI staff fend off interference by politicians," he said.

That was still possible if the 32,000 staff working for the airline were fairly treated, with no favouritism given to particular individuals, including airline executives and even politicians.

"THAI is seen from the outside as a privileged club for some people, and that must end," Mr Piyasvasti said.

The airline is cutting down on perks and privileges for executives and other influential people, including politicians who will no longer be eligible for automatic upgrades of their tickets at the check-in counter.

Their tickets are supposed to be upgraded at the gate subject to seat availability, but this 1992 rule is rarely enforced. Most get automatic upgrades.

The airline is considering cutting the number of free tickets offered to executives by more than half to show that nobody should get special treatment.

Senior officials and executive members now receive up to 15 free tickets a year, while general staff get just two.

No airline in the world offers privileges as generous as those offered to senior managers at THAI, he said.

About 100 staff were moved to inactive posts by Mr Piyasvasti's predecessors.

They could return to their past positions if the airline finds their transfers were unfair.

Excess baggage allowances and other special treatment offered to executives and VIP passengers, such as the use of VIP lounges, would be limited. The measures will go before the board on Feb 26 and will be enforced next month.

They are intended to build a sense of trust and faith among staff that everyone will be fairly treated.

"That will give them the encouragement they need to protect the organisation from outsiders."

Staff cooperated last year when the airline, under financial pressure, said it would have to cut some salaries and withhold bonuses.

That showed their willingness to help the airline in times of trouble, he said.

Mr Piyasvasti took over as airline president in October when it was trying to recover from financial losses caused by the recession. It posted a profit in the last quarter.

He promised to turn around the airline in two years to make it a serious rival to the two biggest carriers in the region, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways.

"This is the best time for Thai Airways to change its direction. We want our rules and regulations to be clear and enforced fairly for all staff.

"I am sure our future can only improve," Mr Piyasvasti said.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 09:38 PM   #573
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siamu maharaj View Post
Wish every airline would do that. No flight attendants who're 35+.
Can't say I agree with you completely bud.

You get all these chicks that like to jump around and talk to there friends in the galleys inseted of serving you on EK, yes, EK. Older FA's know what they're doing and have for some years.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 02:02 PM   #574
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i see THAI have re introduced the BKK-JNB flights from May, operating 4 x weekly
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Old February 5th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #575
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Thai ready to axe three routes Johannesburg flights to resume from May

Bangkokpost Published: 5/02/2010 at 12:00 AM


Thai Airways International (THAI) has decided to drop three under-performing regional routes but will reinstate services to Johannesburg starting from May.

The routes that will be axed for the summer season starting in late March, are Bangkok-Kuwait, Hong Kong-Taipei and Bangkok-Manila-Osaka.

Pruet Boobphakam, THAI's executive vice-president for commercial affairs, said the routes were being dropped to shift limited capacity to higher-demand routes.

THAI operates three flights a week between Bangkok and Kuwait City using Airbus 330-300s, flies daily between Hong Kong and Taipei using Boeing 747-400s, and offers a daily service from Bangkok-Manila-Osaka with Boeing 777-200s.

THAI started its service to Kuwait City, via Dubai, in November 1977 before it was suspended in March 1985. The route was re-launched in March 2002 three times a week using an A330-300.

Mr Pruet also confirmed the airline would resume non-stop services from Bangkok to Johannesburg with four flights a week using Boeing 777-200ERs, each capable of seating 292 passengers, on May 16.

THAI dropped the Johannesburg route in January 2009 due to poor loads. The route was introduced in October 2006 with three flights a week, but it failed financially.

Mr Pruet said the World Cup 2010 being held in South Africa in June provides a good business opportunity to reinstate the Johannesburg flights and the growing economy in that region offers another incentive.

THAI is looking at possibly extending the flight to Cape Town before returning to Bangkok.

The airline has also been in discussion with South African Airways (SAA) about establishing a code-share agreement whereby THAI can carry its passengers through Johannesburg to South America using SAA aircraft.

SAA, a fellow member of Star Alliance, has already been operating flights from its Johannesburg hub to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. "Co-operation with SAA will allow us to reach the southern polar routes," he said.

THAI's summer programme will be largely unchanged from existing frequencies and routes, though capacity may increase 3-4%.

THAI shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 18.80 baht, down 20 satang, in trade worth 120.56 million baht.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #576
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Boeing expert to investigate engine fire of THAI flight


BANGKOK, Feb 7 (TNA) -- An expert witness from US aerospace giant Boeing will meet Monday to coordinate with a Thai investigation team probing the cause an engine fire on a Thai Airways International (THAI) Boeing 747-400.

The incident forced the pilot to make an emergency landing at Suvarnabhumi airport last week, THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand said Sunday.

The Wednesday incident occurred when TG flight 116 which was to fly to Chiang Mai returned for an emergency landing about 10 minutes after taking off following the engine fire, the first accident happening to a Boeing 747-400 in Thailand’s national flag carrier fleet.

No injuries were reported. Mr. Piyasvasti said he expected the cause of the incident should be known soon.

He said the investigation team had met with Aviation Department officials shortly after the accident and its cause should be known more quickly due to the cooperation with the Boeing expert. (TNA)
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Old February 8th, 2010, 06:28 PM   #577
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Business as usual for JAL Thai base

Bangkokpost Published: 4/02/2010 at 12:00 AM


Japan Airlines' Thai base and operation are still intact but an air of uncertainty hangs over the carrier, declared bankrupt with US$25.6 billion in debts, as it starts an overhaul under new management.

The airline's Thai unit has assured the travelling public that it will keep operating flights through Bangkok, while pledging that it will honour business contracts and try to maintain the status quo of its Thai base."It's been business as usual for us here and we expect that to remain so," Sutin Srivarakiat, deputy manager for JAL's Thailand and Indochina operation, told the Bangkok Post.

JAL's Thai unit, with 137 locally employed staff plus about 1,000 Thai cabin attendants, has so far been immune from the country's biggest post-war corporate failure outside the financial sector.

There have yet to be any layoffs or pay cuts although the Thai unit, one of JAL's most important overseas operations in terms of business and profitability, has undergone typical cost savings in recent years like most airlines around the world, said Mr Sutin.

But JAL said earlier that a painful restructuring would be necessary under its new corporate chief, with more than 15,600 jobs to be cut, reducing the workforce by a third, and many loss-making routes likely to be slashed.

JAL was among the first foreign carriers to fly to Thailand. Flights from Japan started more than 50 years ago, soon after the formation of the Japanese flag carrier.

The airline operates a frequent service between Thailand and Japan: two flights a day to Tokyo, a daily flight each to Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka (under a code-share with Thai Airways International), plus six cargo flights a week from Bangkok to Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Mr Sutin said that travellers - especially Japanese travellers, who are JAL's main customer base - were confident JAL would continue flying because the Japanese government has made it clear that it would render full support to keep the once-iconic airline in the sky.

JAL, which carries more than 50 million passengers a year, is set to receive almost $10 billion in public funds and emergency loans under a three-year turnaround plan.

The process will be largely similar to that of United Airlines, which went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the early 2000s and emerged to stay in business, said Mr Sutin.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #578
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National carrier plans expansion: THAI to acquire 15 new aircraft


BANGKOK, Feb 8 (TNA) – A board meeting of Thailand's national flag carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) on Monday gave a green light to the airline's plan to acquire 15 new aircraft between 2010 and 2014.

THAI's board of directors chairman Amphon Kittiamphon said the airline agreed to invest in more aircraft within a budget of some Bt35 billion.

The latest approval followed a previous procurement of five Airbus 330-300 aircraft, to be operated this year, and six Airbus 380s to be operated beginning 2012-2013, Mr Amphon said.

Looking at a new fleet of aircraft, the board agreed to acquire seven 300-seat planes for regional routes with a leasing investment budget of around Bt31 billion together with a fleet of eight long-haul 350-seat planes with a rental period of 10-15 years with a rental budget of around Bt70-80 billion (US$2-2.5 billion).

THAI expects to have a total of 102 aircraft within the next 15 years, with 70 per cent to be in use for less than 10 years, expanding from the current number of 88 aircraft, most of which are used on average for 11-12 years.

The board, meanwhile, also approved a budget to supply spare parts for regional route aircraft at some Bt922 million ($27 million) and for the long-haul ones of around Bt3 billion ($90 billion). (TNA)
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Old February 11th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #579
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Thai ends seat maker contract

Bangkokpost Published: 11/02/2010 at 12:00 AM


Thai Airways International (THAI) has served notice it will terminate its $3.4-million contract with the Japanese aircraft seatmaker Koito Industries for its repeated failures to supply seats to its five new Airbus A330-300 jetliners.


An Airbus A330-300 in THAI’s Star Alliance livery takes off from Phuket airport. This aircraft is similar to the ones involved in the Koito fiasco.
The flag carrier has also started the process of seeking compensation, yet to be specified, from the company while trying to find other suppliers so that it can put the jets into service.

THAI management became convinced the Yokohama-based company could not commit to a timeframe for seat deliveries.

Senior THAI executives said the problem could mean a loss of hundreds of millions of baht in revenue opportunities from lack of use of the five aircraft.

Singapore Airlines, Continental Airlines and All Nippon Airways have also been forced to delay new planes because of late seats from Koito.

The Japanese supplier said last week the axle in a new seat design failed a safety test. Other seats were covered in uncertified materials. Seat fabrics are important in slowing the spread of aircraft fires.

Koito Industries, partly owned by Toyota Motor Corp, has been struggling to get its new seat design certified by the Japanese authorities because of safety concerns about the uncertified materials.

"We can't keep on waiting like this forever. We need to find new suppliers while making Koito accountable for its failures," said Chokchai Panyayong, executive vice-president for strategy and business development at THAI.

THAI has failed to take delivery of the five jets, which have been sitting idle at the Airbus assembly plant in Hamburg for five months.

Each medium-range aircraft is awaiting 263 economy-class seats. The 36 business-class seats have already been installed by another supplier.

Koito recently indicated it could solve its certification problems and deliver the seats to the airline by August, but THAI executives are not convinced.

THAI management feels it is prudent to go for a "parallel" solution: pushing Koito to deliver the seats as soon as possible and at the same time inviting other seat makers such as Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH, part of Germany's Keiper Recaro Group, to send bid proposals.

While terms of reference for the seat bidding are being prepared, delivery of seats by a new supplier may take a while because of the production backlogs of those manufacturers.

THAI executives predict it may take between eight to 12 months for new suppliers to ship seats, probably longer than waiting for Koito.

Seats from new suppliers may also be expensive, probably in the range of US$4,000 a unit, compared to about $2,600 a unit quoted by the troubled Japanese manufacturer.

Over the next few months, THAI management is likely to play it by ear on how it will react, executives said.

However, THAI has resolved to retain five ageing fuel-thirsty A300-600s, which were supposed to have been retired from the fleet by now.

Bloomberg quoted Japanese Transport Minister Seiji Maeharar as saying that Koito should face tough civil sanctions because of its "extreme recklessness".

Koito spokesman Yoichiro Kuroiwa would not say yesterday when the company may resume shipping seats.

The Yokohama-based company has pledged to repair about 150,000 seats in 1,000 planes after admitting it had made seats using uncertified materials and with unauthorised design changes.

The seats to be fixed are in planes operated by 32 airlines in countries including the US, China, Japan and Singapore. Koito plans to make all of the repairs, which predominantly affect Boeing and Airbus aircraft, this year.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 09:29 AM   #580
siamu maharaj
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Toyota's at it again. They can't even get the seat right now.
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