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Old July 23rd, 2010, 09:08 PM   #641
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Here are my thoughts on the Phuket International Airport:

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Old July 25th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #642
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FYI - Color picture of Thai International's Douglas DC-8-63 HS-TGY in the original 1960 markings taken on a clear day in Hong Kong in December 1974:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4826527822/
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Old July 26th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #643
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Thai orders seven new jets for fleet upgrade

Bangkokpost Published: 23/07/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International (THAI) has confirmed the order for seven more A330-300 mid-size jetliners with the European planemaker Airbus as part of its fleet upgrade.

THAI currently operates twenty A330-300 jetliners serving destinations across Asia-Pacific.
Montree Jumrieng, managing director of THAI's technical department, signed a memorandum of understanding with John Leahy, Airbus's chief operating officer for customers, on Wednesday at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed though THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand described the prices as "very good". After the flag carrier's board agreed on June 18 to acquire the wide-body jets, he said the price was 31 billion baht excluding engines, seats, inflight entertainment system and spare engines.

An A330-300 carries a current catalogue price of US$212.4 million.

The aircraft will be delivered to THAI during three time slots, two by the end of 2011, three in 2012 and two in 2013, joining an existing fleet of 20 A330-300s flying to destinations across the Asia-Pacific region.

The seven Airbus planes are part of 15 new wide-body jets the flag carrier is acquiring as replacements to ageing machines over the next four years when the airline will retire 25 old aircraft including several B747-400 jumbo jets now used on long-haul routes.

As part of the same project, THAI will acquire eight long-range Boeing B777- 300ERs through leasing.

Dr Piyasvasti said negotiations with lessors for the jets should be finalised by the end of next month.

The Boeings, each capable of carrying 350 passengers, expect to be leased for 15 years for 79 billion baht.

Airbus said it has more than 1,000 orders for various versions of the A330 aircraft. Almost 700 have already been delivered and the aircraft are currently flying with at least 80 operators.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #644
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Rolls-Royce seeking to develop Thai supply chain

By THE NATION Published on July 28, 2010

Rolls-Royce aims to grow its supply chain tremendously in Southeast Asia, with Thailand, where it has been doing business for 21 years, as a focus.

"We are going to be making large engines in Singapore and it makes absolute sense to have a supply chain in the region that can feed that facility. Thailand has demonstrated that it's capable of doing that," Ewen McDonald (seen in photo), managing director of Rolls-Royce Thailand, said recently in Bangkok.

While Rolls-Royce does not manufacture in Thailand, it wants to be seen as more than just a supplier, he said.

"We want to help the supply chain industry here. We want to be integrated into the country and to bring value by encouraging our suppliers to come here."

To help build that supply chain, the company works closely with the Board of Investment (BoI) and has held two supply chain events. The aim of the events was to find suppliers for Rolls-Royce and to strengthen manufacturing within the Kingdom.

For many years Rolls-Royce has supplied aircraft engines to THAI, Bangkok Airways and PB Air, as well as equipment to the Thai Armed Forces and the energy sector. It has invested more than US$700 million (Bt22.7 billion) in the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus in Singapore, with plans underway to open its "Facility of the Future" - a Trent aero engine testing and assembly facility and a new wide chord fan blade (WCFB) factory.

Thailand's proximity to Singapore as a global business and manufacturing hub for Rolls-Royce presents significant opportunities for the local manufacturing industry.

The company wants to demonstrate its belief in the country.

"What we bring to Thailand is the Rolls-Royce name and that's a very powerful thing and has itself attracted suppliers to the country. The fact that we are encouraging investment here really brings home that message," McDonald said.

Aerospace manufacturer Primus International, which supplies Rolls-Royce with engine related products, will open a plant to produce composite/metallic propulsion and structural aircraft products at Amata City Industrial Estate, near Bangkok.

Jim Hoover, CEO of Primus International, a long-time supplier, said there was a range of reasons for coming to Thailand, but the four most important factors were close proximity to Rolls-Royce, a talent pool of skilled workers, competitive labour costs and incentives from the BoI. He embraced the invitation to join a new phase of their relationship in Asia.

"One of the reasons we picked Thailand is because the auto industry is here. We see people who have core skills. We can take them, give them additional training to reach a higher level of technology or quality."

At their new plant, local staff will be taken either to the UK or US for training.

"They become a core of our company because they then become the trainers," he said.

McDonald saw the current political situation as obviously unwelcome, but business continued.

"There is an underlying stability despite the political instability that is demonstrated by the likes of the BOI who are always there."

Rolls-Royce likes to make it clear they are in Thailand for the long haul and will continue to look for new suppliers and partners with a proven track record and a strong balance sheet.

"During last year's troubles we were in the middle of the process of deciding to come to Thailand, but ultimately it didn't deter me or my board. We were not overly concerned."

Rolls-Royce also works with Kasetsart University, looking to invest in young top graduates and provide lectures on the aerospace industry. It believes that by working with universities it can help develop expertise and show that there are potential careers at the company and in the wider world of aerospace, marine and energy industries.

The company is now opening up for those who want to join the supply chain.

"'It all comes down to quality, cost and delivery. We have demanding customers and need our suppliers to have the ability to meet all of our requirements. The ability to deliver on time is a given.

"In the current climate, cost is becoming more and more important, but cost can't be at the expense of quality. We will look at cost-leading areas of the world and make decisions as to whether it's the right place to be, but we can never compromise on quality," McDonald said.

Ajarin Pattanapancha, BOI deputy secretary-general, welcomed this move, for it means knowledge transfer that will improve local company skills. Despite the recent financial downturn, one of the great Thai manufacturing success stories can be found in the automobile industry. Toyota and GM have used local suppliers for many years and shared knowledge.

"We try to get companies to provide knowledge - soft skill knowledge is essential when it come to making good quality products," Ajarin said.

Yet, according to McDonald, not all knowledge would be transferred. Anything considered core technology and unique to Rolls-Royce is kept strictly in-house and manufactured by the company. Rolls-Royce will just share ideas and information with suppliers, for the production of items that fit demanding standards.

Now, 7 per cent of Rolls-Royce purchases comes from Southeast Asia and is on the way up, compared to a little over 1 per cent in 2003. Its order book is now valued at over $90 billion and the size would be doubled over the next decade.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #645
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THAI to make 'bulk' purchases

Bangkokpost Published: 29/07/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to acquire new aircraft in bulk in the future as it rejuvenates its ageing fleet.

"Don't be surprised in the future if we order 30 new jets at the same time," said president Piyasvasti Amranand, as the flag carrier worked on finalising the next stages of fleet renewal that will begin in 2015.

The new planes, mostly wide-bodied, will replace older aircraft to reduce its average fleet age from 11.5 years.

Having a younger and more efficient fleet will enable THAI to better compete with arch-rivals such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, whose aircraft are about six or seven years old, said Mr Piyasvasti.

In this region, the only airline THAI has a younger fleet than is Garuda Indonesia, said Mr Piyasvasti.

"By the end of this year, we should have a clear picture of the fleet we will acquire after 2014," he noted.

A draft plan presented to THAI's board shows by 2026, the airline expects to have a fleet of 102 aircraft with an average age of 7.5 years.

There are 88 planes in THAI's fleet, and over the next five years the airline will retire 25 aircraft.

Between 2015 and 2019, the carrier plans to retire 32 aging aircraft and acquire 38 new aircraft to replace them.

From 2020-24, 20 planes would exit THAI's fleet with 28 new aircraft entering.

The airline ordered seven A330-300s from Europe's Airbus last week.

The THAI board also approved a proposal to lease eight long-range Boeing B777-300ERs. The 15 new jets are due to join THAI's fleet in the next four years.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 04:15 PM   #646
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THAI'S Thai Tiger, new low-cost airline launched

By The Nation 2/08/2010

Thai Airways International and Tiger Airways Holdings today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to form a new low fare airline called Thai Tiger Airways Private Ltd, which is expected to commence operations in the first quarter of 2011, pending regulatory approvals.

Based in Bangkok, Thai Tiger will operate international and domestic flights out of Suvarnabhumi Airport offering short-haul, point-to-point services within a 5-hour flying radius. The route network and further information on the corporate structure will be announced in due course.

For its 49.8 per cent stake, THAI will inject Bt99.6 million into the new company, which will provide the ultra low fare services.

"For people in Thailand and the region, our launching of Thai Tiger will mean that in addition to the global network of premium services operated by THAI, more people will have access to new low fare, point to point services, giving a big boost to tourism and employment," said THAI President Piyasvasti Amranand.

THAI and a Thai entity will collectively hold 51 per cent while Tiger Airways will hold 49 per cent. The Thai Tiger Board will consist of three nominees from THAI and two nominees from Tiger Airways, with the Chairmanship being held by THAI. Tony Davis, Tiger Airways Group President and CEO, and Ryanasia principal Declan Ryan will sit on the Board of Thai Tiger as nominees for Tiger Airways. Declan Ryan was one of the founding shareholders of both Tiger Airways and Ryanair.

Piyasvasti believed that this move will provide revenue opportunities for THAI and allow THAI to be more competitive in the region with the anticipated growth in the low cost market as a result of continued Asean air liberalisation policies by 2015 which "we expect will lead to growth in air travel in the Asian market. Thai Tiger will offer an entirely different line of products to that offered by THAI".

"Thai Tiger will be well positioned to offer low fares to even more parts of the Asia-Pacific region from its base in Asia's tourism leader, Thailand. Bangkok is a key gateway to the whole of South East Asia and from its base at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai Tiger will be well positioned to also serve destinations in North Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Spreading our paw-print means greater economies of scale for Tiger Airways, which in turn enables us to lower costs and fares even further," Davis added.

Thai Tiger will operate a consistent Airbus A320 aircraft fleet in line with other airlines in the Tiger Airways Group.

Tiger Airways, established in September 2004, now operates a fleet of 19 Airbus A320-family aircraft and is committed to increasing its fleet size to 68 by December 2015. The airline currently operates flights to 37 destinations in 11 countries and territories across Asia and Australia.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:46 PM   #647
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THAI to borrow Bt20 bn more

By The Nation 12/08/2010

Thai Airways International's board of directors approved the company to ink more term loans and revolving credit lines with four commercial banks worth totally Bt20 billion.

This is part of the company's financial restructuring plan, said THAI President Piyasvasti Amranand.

THAI will seek Bt12 billion from Bangkok Bank, for the 8-year term. Thanachart Bank will lend Bt2 billion for 7 years. TMB Bank will lend a 7-year Bt2 billion term loan, plus Bt1 billion of five-year revolving credit line. Tisco Bank will lend a 7-year Bt1.5 billion term loan, plus a Bt1.5 billion seven-year credit line.

Earlier, it tapped an Bt8 billion term loan from Siam Commercial Bank.

THAI today also reported better performance in July. The Available Seat per Kilometre (ASK) for July 2010 was 4.79 per cent higher than in July 2009, and 7.62 per cent higher than in June 2010. The Revenue per Kilometre (RPK) for July 2010 was 12.43 per cent higher than in July 2009, and 26.07 per cent higher than in June 2010. The cabin factor for July 2010 averaged at 76.53 per cent, which was 7.29 per cent higher than in July 2009, and 17.14 per cent higher than in June 2010.

During January-July 2010, the ASK was 6.46 per cent higher than the same period last year, while RPK was 9.88 per cent higher than the same period in 2009. The cabin factor averaged 73.53 per cent, which was 3.21 per cent higher than the same period the previous year.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 10:12 PM   #648
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THAI mulls regional airline

By THE NATION Published on August 18, 2010

National carrier Thai Airways International is considering setting up a "regional airline" service to capture a share of the increasing number of passengers in this part of the world.

The company's board of directors recently sought approval from its executive board to conduct a feasibility study of such an operation.

The idea is not only to attract new customers but also to facilitate THAI's desire to become a fully integrated airline.

The plan has been submitted separately from the recent approval to set up Thai Tiger Airways, a joint venture between the company and Singapore-based budget airline Tiger Air.

A THAI source said the market still had room for further access and the carrier therefore needed to revise its strategy to accommodate such an opportunity.

"We foresee the launch of a multibrand strategy to capture a share of regional travellers, both businesspeople and tourists, to secondary markets in the region such as Indochina, South China and India," said the source, noting that they were important markets in support of THAI's international routes.

The large size of THAI's aircraft and high operating costs make it inconvenient to fly to every destination in the region. As a result, the company has to look at a more manageable plan and think more of business expansion to short-haul routes and secondary markets in the area, said the source.

"This has prompted the company to think of a full-service regional airline."

Under the plan, the company is considering small-body aircraft with 150-180 seats, focusing on economy and business classes. In addition, the entire fleet would use the same model to ensure efficient operation and sustainable costs.

The source said the idea would not hit THAI's own operations, as the regional airline would not fly on the same routes but would focus on secondary markets where there was no overcrowding.

If approved, the new carrier would open new routes such as Siem Reap, Guilin and Mandalay, besides facilitating connecting flights of THAI.

The regional airline would focus on routes entailing no more than six hours of flying time, and the national carrier's management would also allow the company to implement code sharing on ticket booking and frequent-flyer benefits.

However, Transport Minister Sophon Saram yesterday said he had not heard anything from THAI management about the idea for a regional airline.

"I don't understand the objective. The company could expand its market by seeking suitable new aircraft to facilitate the operation," he said.

The minister added that the establishment of Thai Tiger Air also had been designed to handle regional flights.

A source on THAI's executive board said the regional-airline idea had been taken off the company's agenda, as it already had an integrated service from its premium (THAI), regional (Nok Air) and budget (Thai Tiger Airways) services.

Meanwhile, THAI has opted for a public offering of up to 1 billion shares, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The bulk of the shares will be allocated to the Finance Ministry, which seeks to maintain its 51.03-per-cent stake, and to other existing shareholders.

The offer ratio will be announced on the day it reveals the offering price, as determined by the book-building method.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #649
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Jet biofuel to take flight from 2012 Output to serve 'green' European planes

Bangkokpost Published: 18/08/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thailand will start developing biofuel for jets to meet demand from 2012, when European aviation regulations calling for green fuel in airplanes take effect, says the Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department.

"That means Thailand's international airports should have airplane-compatible biofuel available to serve European airlines," said Twarath Sutabutr, the deputy director-general.

"We want to become the aviation hub for Southeast Asia, and that means we'll have to have all the essential supplies to serve their requirements. Jet biofuel will absolutely be needed, so we should start developing it now."

Average annual jet fuel demand in Thailand is about 4 billion litres. To meet the demand for biofuel to mix in with jet fuel, the country should expand the area of palm oil plantations or turn to other fuel crops such as algae or sweet sorghum.

So far, the output of crude palm oil for biodiesel production is balanced and remains sufficient for the government's policy of replacing B3, a mix of 3% biofuel and high-speed diesel, with the higher biofuel content B5 next January.

"If we also need to serve the aviation industry, then the crude palm oil we have now won't be enough, so we're considering what we can prepare for the market change," said Dr Twarath.

He said that at present there were two organisations spearheading fuel crop development - the department itself and the energy conglomerate PTT Group.

The department has provided financial support to universities for research into making biofuel from algae and sweet sorghum. PTT has its own research and development department and a laboratory for aviation biofuel.

Biofuel from algae may be the best choice since suitable areas for palm tree plantation are limited.

"Instead of trying to get more palm oil, the country should throw its efforts into research into new fuel crops," said Dr Twarath.

He said in the short term, the government would expand oil palm plantations and other biofuel sources in areas of low-yield crops like longans and lychees.

"Since we see a surplus of those fruits each year along with very low prices, we may be better off turning them into something more valuable instead of making them suffer the same problems each year," added Dr Twarath.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 11:50 PM   #650
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Talks begin for huge order

Bangkokpost Published: 16/08/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International has begun talks with Airbus on the possibility of acquiring up to 30 of the next-generation A350XWB jets and six additional A380 superjumbos.

Demand has been heavy for the A350XWB and deliveries may fall behind schedule.

THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand and Jean-Jacques Boissin, Airbus's Southeast Asia sales director, separately confirmed the discussions. If a sale materialises, it may represent the largest aircraft order in the 50-year history of the flag carrier.

The aircraft would cost US$9.12 billion on the open market, though Airbus tends to offer deep discounts to compete with US rival Boeing on major orders.

Airbus is pushing for orders of the new high-capacity jets as part of THAI's ongoing fleet renewal programme as it replaces ageing jets with planes that offer more advanced features and better fuel efficiency to appeal to customers.

According to a draft plan presented to THAI's board earlier, by 2026 the airline expects to have a fleet of 102 aircraft with an average age of 7.5 years.

Currently there are 88 planes in THAI's fleet with an average age of 11.5 years, compared to competitors such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific whose aircraft are six to seven years old.

Mr Boissin believes THAI needs thirty A350s over the next decade to replace the A340s, Boeing B777-200ERs and B777-300ERs it uses on long-haul routes.

Airbus also wants to sell THAI another six double-decker A380s beyond the six units already ordered and due for delivery in 2012 and 2013 to operate primarily on European routes.

"We are absolutely sure that THAI needs at least twice as many [A380s]," said Mr Boissin, though THAI executives did not comment.

But THAI is interested in the 900 and 1000 versions of the long-range, mid-size, wide-body A350 which boasts advanced technology and fuel efficiency.

Priced at $240 million, the A350-900 seats 314 passengers in a three-class cabin layout. It has a standard range target of 15,000 km.

The 900 version will debut in 2013 with the first aircraft going to Qatar Airways, to be followed by the 270-seat A350-800 ($208 million) in 2014. An even larger variant with 350 seats, the A350-1000, is scheduled to enter service in late 2015, according to Airbus.

However, Airbus may not be able to deliver the A350s to potential new customers soon enough due to a large order backlog, now at 530 planes from 33 customers, including Bangkok Airways which ordered four new jets.

"We are a victim of our own success. So we have to reorganise to improve production capacity," said Mr Boissin.

The earliest that Airbus could deliver the first A350 to THAI is 2017, he pointed out.

The A350 was designed to compete with Boeing's hot-selling 787 Dreamliner, which is running more than two years behind schedule. The US planemaker has already received more than 850 orders for the jet that will largely be made of composite materials.

The A350 will be the first Airbus plane with both fuselage and wing structures made largely of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic. Airbus claims the A350 will be more fuel efficient, with up to 8% lower operating costs than the B787.

Airbus projects demand for 5,000 aircraft in the 250- to 300-seat category over the next two decades, a segment that includes the A350 and B787.
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Old August 31st, 2010, 03:43 PM   #651
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Thai Tiger Airways to fly next March

Bangkokpost Published: 31/08/2010 at 03:04 PM

Utmost efforts would be made to ensure that the new budget airline, Thai Tiger Airways, can begin providing services by next March, Piyasvasti Amranand, president at Thai Airways International (THAI), said on Tuesday.

THAI and Tiger Air signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly set up the new budget airline on Aug 2.

The two companies are now detailing the operational plan, including the leasing of aircraft and deciding and setting up both domestic and overseas routes, said Mr Piyasvasti.

“It is not necessary for Thai Tiger Airways to lease aircraft from Tiger Air. It can look for the needed planes from any airlines that offer the most suitable and the best deal.

"Thai Tiger also has no obligation to use the Airbus 320 as it is an independent airline,” he said.

He expected THAI and Tiger Air would be able to decide on a suitable person to serve as CEO of Thai Tiger by the end of September.

Mr Piyasvasti said Thai Tiger airwa ys would focus mostly on grassroots clients who have never travelled by plane and would concentrate on domestic and overseas routes served by its competitors, but the routes would not overlap with those of THAI and Nok Air, an affiliate firm of THAI.

“Thai Tiger Airways might open new routes, such as flights from Bangkok to cities in China and India,” the THAI president said.

He said that on Sept 2 Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will visit THAI headquarters and be briefed on general operation plans, aircraft being sought, issuing of debentures and other plans to raise capital.

“It is an ordinary visit to a state enterprise by the prime minister and he will not attend the meeting of board of directors of THAI,” said Mr Piyasvasti.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #652
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THAI joins IATA carbon offset programme

The Nation Published on September 15, 2010

Thai Airways International (THAI) has launched the Carbon Offset Programme with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide customers with the opportunity to offset carbon emissions generated from flying.

Piyasvasti Amranand, THAI President , said that THAI is the first airline in the Asia-Pacific region to join the programme with IATA. Working with IATA, THAI is now able to offer customers a way to compensate carbon emissions through the THAI website at www.thaiairways.com . Information about the amount of CO 2 emitted for the booked flight is available as well as the cost to offset the CO 2 amount.

The IATA programme calculates the carbon emissions based on a methodology developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The system utilizes the efficiencies and reliability of IATA's long-established financial system to enable airlines and their customers to purchase ticket and offset at the same time.

The IATA Carbon Offset Programme only invests in UN-approved Certified Emissions Reductions (CER) projects and voluntary credits, which comply with the recognized Gold and or Voluntary Carbon Standards. The entire customer contribution goes to the sponsored projects. As transparency is critical to ensure that money collected result in reduced emissions, in this regard, the IATA offset program has been independently approved by the UK's carbon offset quality assurance scheme.

When customers book online, they can check the level of emissions created by their flight and make a financial contribution that will be devoted exclusively to the officially approved renewable energy projects worldwide: Thailand's Biogas Waste Heat Based project in Nakhon Ratchasima, Jordan's Fuel Switching at Aqaba Thermal Power Station, Chile's Biomass Project Neuva Aldea, Peru's Landfill Gas in Ancon, Brazil's Braco Norte IV Small Hydro in the Guaranta Do Norte County, and Mato Grosso State in Mid-West Brazil.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 06:30 PM   #653
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Seat maker fails to meet final THAI deadline Carrier will launch compensation claim

Bangkokpost Published: 22/09/2010 at 12:00 AM

Japan's Koito Industries has failed to meet a deadline extension granted by Thai Airways International to deliver seats for the flag carrier's wide-body jets.

The troubled Yokohama company recently conceded that it could not meet the Sept 20 deadline set three months ago because it was unable to obtain certification of it seats from Japanese and European safety authorities.

As a result, THAI intends to start legal proceedings to claim compensations, amounting to billions of baht, for failure to deliver seats for 11 aircraft, senior executives said.

Its failure has held up the delivery of five new Airbus A330-300s by six to 10 months so far, and also stalled plans to retrofit six old Boeing B747-400s.

The problems at Koito reportedly affected 150,000 seats in at least 1,000 Airbus and Boeing planes owned by 32 airlines in 24 countries, causing delays in aircraft deliveries to those carriers.

The company has been accused of falsifying test results, omitting part of the test process and using figures from past tests. Koito claimed the short-cuts resulted from a "heavy number of orders coming and tight scheduling".

Koito last July lost a 380-million-baht contract to supply economy seats for THAI's six Airbus A380 superjumbos to Germany's Recaro Aircraft Seating.

The latest failure effectively ends a 490-million-baht deal to deliver economy seats for 11 other new and old twin-aisle aircraft.

THAI has now put Koito on its blacklist of suppliers to be disqualified from future bids.

THAI has named Germany's ZIM Flugsitz GmbH as a replacement supplier for the 11 aircraft, under a 432-million-baht contract it drew up earlier in the event Koito could not meet its commitment.

The switch to ZIM has cleared uncertainties about the arrival of the five new A330-300s. THAI executives said the first of the five jets would have seats installed and enter service in February, with the rest due at a rate of one a month.

They said the business opportunity loss and all the costs associated with the grounding of the A330-300s were "huge" for THAI.

Other airlines including Singapore Airlines, Continental and All Nippon Airways have faced similar problems with Koito, affecting their plane deliveries.

"I don't know if Koito would be able to deal with the compensation claims from its airline clients and avoid being bankrupt," a THAI executive said.

The outlook for Koito, which also makes mechanical components such as railway equipment, headlamps and train seats, looks bleak, especially in the airline seat businesses.

Both Airbus and Boeing have banned Koito from fitting seats in their aircraft because of safety violations.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 10:13 AM   #654
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THAI to lease eight Boeings

Bangkokpost Published: 8/10/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International has clinched a deal to lease eight brand-new large-capacity long-haul Boeing jets from BOC Aviation as part of its ongoing fleet renewal.

The leasing unit of Bank of China was chosen over two other contenders, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) and Dublin-based AWAS, which were unable to make available the required eight B777-300ER planes.

DAE could only spare four while AWAS has two for leasing to THAI, according to THAI insiders.

Under the deal sealed recently, BOC will lease the aircraft for 12 years at US$1.15 million a month per jet, plus a "commitment fee" of $5.87 million per aircraft, a charge that will not be returned to the airline.

BOC, wholly owned by Bank of China, one of the 10 largest banks in the world, will deliver the first plane to THAI in August 2012 with the last due in October 2013.

The eight B777-300ERs will be used on European routes, replacing ageing B747-400s and the B777-300ERs that THAI has leased from India's Jet Airways and will give up the fleet upon the expiry of the three-year lease by then.

The new aircraft provided by BOC will be configured with two classes, 40 seats in business class and 306 in economy class.

The business class will have flat-bed seats while the economy seats will be equipped with personal screens featuring inflight audio-video on-demand systems.

All these features are not currently available in most THAI's aircraft, except the three B777-300ERs leased from Jet Airways.

The eight B777-300ERs leased from BOC form parts of the 15 mid-size wide-body aircraft acquisition approved earlier this year by the THAI board to conform with the aircraft replacement programme for medium to short-haul routes.

The seven other aircraft, Airbus A330- 300s, have earlier been ordered by THAI and are due to join the fleet in stages, starting from mid-November 2011 to April 2013.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #655
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THAI cuts Koito claim to US$177m

Bangkokpost Published: 13/10/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International (THAI) has slashed its compensation claim from Japan's Koito Industries for defaulting on aircraft seat deliveries to US$177 million, down from $550 million. THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand said last Friday the $550 million was based on the airline's original estimate of costs arising from the Yokohama company's late delivery of seats for 11 wide-body jets, but has since been revised downward.

In a statement yesterday, the airline confirmed it was in the process of filing a lawsuit for $177 million to cover direct and indirect costs from Koito.

Shares in Koito Industries and parent Koito Manufacturing have fallen since last week on reports about THAI's compensation claims.

Yesterday, Koito tumbled 12% in Tokyo trading, the most in eight months, to 128 yen. Parent Koito Manufacturing Co, partly owned by Toyota Motor Corp, dropped 5.8% to 986 yen, Bloomberg reported.

THAI started legal proceedings after Koito notified the airline it could not meet a deadline extension of Sept 20 set three months earlier because it was unable to obtain certification for its seats from Japanese and European safety authorities.

Koito Industries earlier this year halted deliveries and began inspecting seats on about 1,000 planes worldwide after admitting to having made unauthorised design changes and using uncertified materials for at least a decade.

Koito's failure has delayed the delivery of five new Airbus A330-300s to THAI by seven to 11 months, and also affected the installation of economy seats for THAI's six Airbus A380 double-deckers.

THAI named Germany's ZIM Flugsitz GmbH as a replacement supplier of economy class seats for the jetliners.

Koito recently indicated to THAI that it was prepared to offer compensation only for actual expenditures, not opportunity losses that represent a large chunk of the total compensation.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 10:21 PM   #656
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THAI stepping up focus on air freight Fleet of eight cargo carriers planned

Bangkokpost Published: 22/10/2010 at 12:00 AM

Thai Airways International has begun to exploit relatively untapped freight operations in earnest, with a plan to deploy up to eight dedicated freighters to create a cargo business entity in its own right.

THAI, which has been largely a passenger airline throughout its 50-year history, aspires to become a major Asian freight operator in the same league as Korean Air, of which major revenue comes from the air cargo business.

Over the next decade, the Thai flag carrier aims to operate a fleet of eight freighters including the Boeing B747F and smaller regional freighters, according to Pichai Chunganuwad, managing director of the Cargo and Mail Commercial Department.

In the near term, THAI is looking to acquire a medium-haul freighter, with a payload of 40-50 tonnes, such as Airbus A300-600 or Boeing 767 to operate on regional routes.

That cargo plane, expected to enter service at THAI early next year, will support the long-haul freight forwarding capacity rendered by two Boeing 777-200 LRF freighters operated by the Connecticut-based low-cost cargo carrier Southern Air and on which THAI has a space purchase agreement.

The so-called block space agreement, which became effective last March for a two-year period, ushered in a new era for THAI's air cargo business, allowing the company to meet longer-distance bulk shipment requirements outside its current network.

Mr Pichai said the regional freighter would especially enable THAI to cash in on the fast-growing air cargo haulage needs in China and India through Bangkok.

Using the B777-200 LRF jet, the world's largest twin-engine freighter, on regional routes is not economical due to its long-range economy of scale.

Putting in place sufficient capacities with dedicated planes is essential if THAI wants to turn Suvarnabhumi Airport into a cargo hub as the capacity in the bellies of passenger planes has its limitations, he pointed out.

THAI plans to ramp up the cargo frequencies on routes now operated by the B777-200 LRFs, by adding a third weekly flight on Bangkok-Frankfurt non-stop, a second weekly service on Bangkok-Hong Kong-Amsterdam while introducing a once-a-week flight on Bangkok-Delhi-Amsterdam, to cater to increasing demand.

THAI's overall air cargo business fared relatively well in the first eight months of this year, with a 62% capacity utilisation, up from 56% last year, said Mr Pichai.

The airline handles 60,000 tonnes of cargo a month, expected to rise to 65,000 to 70,000 tonnes in the last quarter in line with seasonal increase in demand.

The outlook for growth looks good with projected revenue of 26 billion baht for the whole of 2010, compared to 21.3 billion baht last year.

But Mr Pichai cautioned that the global freight rates are being depressed by the increase in capacity pushed up by the recommissioning of a good number freighters which were left idle during the economic downturn last year.

In another move to make the cargo operation an entity in its own right, THAI's cargo unit on Jan 1 will be restructured to become a "profit centre", with its financial accounts being made independent from the flag carrier's main balance sheet.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 10:38 PM   #657
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AoT offering discounts and bonuses to lift traffic

Bangkokpost Published: 25/10/2010 at 12:00 AM

In a bold move to increase air traffic volume to five of its six airports, Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) has adopted an incentive programme including heavy discounts and bonus payouts to airlines.

The programme, endorsed by the AoT board last Friday, is meant to encourage carriers to open up new international routes through those airports and ramp up passenger volumes on their existing international routes.

More specifically, it envisages 95% discounts for landing and parking fees for scheduled flights and charter services with specific timetables for existing routes serving Bangkok's Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Hat Yai.

Carriers that manage to increase passengers on their existing international routes through these five airports are entitled to "bonus" payments ranging from 40 to 120 baht for each incremental passenger over last year's level.

AoT president Serirat Prasutanond said the marketing incentive programme would create a "50:50 win-win" proposition between the majority state-owned airport operator and airlines.

Effective for three years starting from Nov 1, the programme is seen as more generous and concrete than AoT's previous incentive programmes, which were applied on an ad-hoc basis to counter downturns caused by factors such as Thailand's political turmoil.

Previous incentives only featured reductions in parking and landing fees, depending on the size of aircraft.

The package will match or be close to programmes that have been in use by airports in Malaysia, Singapore and China where authorities are competing fiercely to attract international carriers.

"Without new incentives, we could only achieve organic growth in traffic," Mr Serirat said.

He pointed out that even though AoT may lose some earnings from airlines, it will eventually benefit from an increase in revenue from passenger service charges as traveller numbers grow.

The new incentives are not applied to AoT's flagship airport, Suvarnabhumi, which accounts for three quarters of all passengers handled by AoT.

AoT does not see the need to offer such incentives at Suvarnabhumi as airlines already want to operate there.

For its financial year that ended on Sept 30, about 57 million passengers passed through AoT's airports, 42 million of them through Suvarnabhumi, according to preliminary AoT figures.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #658
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Aviation training center to spread its wings

Thailand's Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC) has been an accepted specialist training centre in this region for years. Being certified by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and providing hightech aviation equipment, lots of foreign students have chosen to study here.

However, the centre is looking beyond to spread its reputation to lure more foreign students at a time when more skilled personnel are needed to drive expansion of the aviation business in many countries.

Varintorn Liamnak, director of the centre's aviation business research and development division, said it has taught students from 78 countries in the 49 years since the centre was established back in 1961.

"Students have come - for example, from Germany, Yemen, Egypt, Bhutan, Mongolia, China, Korea and Vietnam," he said.

"We're leading trainers for aircraft personnel. We have digital aircraft, while others still use analog aircraft. We have more hightech equipment, compared to our neighbouring countries," said Air Chief Marshal Paiboon Chanhom, chairman of the CATC's board of directors.

"We've been a centre of excellence in Asia for years. Our centre is the only place in Asia that teaches a Science programme Bachelor's degree in avionics. And we produce engineers who can repair avionics equipment," Varintorn said. "We are the leader in safety, security and human factors of aviation."

All teachers at the centre are Thai. Most - 90 per cent of them - are from the Royal Thai Air Force. Each flight instructor has flown an average of 10,000 flight hours.

Varintorn said the centre had produced quality students who later became directorgenerals of departments of civil aviation in Laos, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The CATC is set to launch roadshows in China and Bhutan, and plans to offer more courses for students from Vietnam and Laos. It is also looking to "introduce" itself to India.

Varintorn said the aviation sector had expanded in Vietnam. The government in Hanoi supported Noi Bai International Airport but needed more aviation personnel, so it had sent students to study at CATC.

This year, the majority of foreign students are 100 Mongolians studying air traffic control and about 90 Vietnamese students doing different ground training programmes.

"With limited infrastructure, we can only boost the number of foreign students in the classroom a little as the current number of CATC students is near full capacity," Varintorn said.

"So, we are looking to create courses on request for other countries, and later send our teachers to teach tailormade courses in those countries. There is no problem with quality because we have course developers certified by ICAO who can develop such courses.

"We want more local and international students to recognise us. So, we will be able to recruit more topclass and quality students, too," she said.

CATC's second flight training center in Khon Kaen can support more foreign students looking to be pilots.

More than 40 programmes for a Bachelor's degree, certificate or basic courses and short courses are available there. Overall, CATC has close to 3,000 students.

Yu Ge or Dodo, who graduated with a commercial pilot licence from the centre last month, said: "CATC's got the high technology. I always focus on quality instructors here. CATC has the best of the best instructors from the Royal Air Force and Thai Airways International. We have good, patient, friendly and knowledgeable teachers. The environment in Hua Hin is pretty good.

"Under the ICAO standard, an aviation training centre should offer a percentage of flights over water, mountains and mainland. And we have the different conditions here day by day."

Dodo, who has been recruited for Shenzhen Air in China, said: "Another factor is that living costs in Thailand is much cheaper than overseas but the standard is the same or even higher.

"CATC is the most famous [aviation centre] in Southeast Asia. Its reputation is very well known. It made me very disciplined, more mature and gave me more seniority than before. My level of responsibility is greater.

"For people interested in being a commercial pilot, you have to prepare yourself well, have a good attitude, and make sure you are a person who learns about life," he said.

Recently, CATC welcomed members of the Thai press and others from Vietnam and China to fly with its student pilots in small planes to enjoy the magnificent views of Hua Hin, and learn how they study and are taught.

The good news for young people who dream of becoming a commercial pilot or doing other aviation jobs is CATC offers an opportunity for them to be a passenger in their small planes to witness how a pilot controls the plane and experience two hours flying a flight simulator. Also, they can do an introductory course on aviation.

A threeyear project will open again for applicants in December. People interested in being students with a passion for an aviation job can submit an essay, telling about their dream and passion for aviation jobs to win an great learning opportunity and join the course free of charge.

Other youths who can't win the essay competition can benefit from a special promotion. They can pay Bt4,000 each - instead of the normal rate of Bt8,500 or Bt10,000 - to learn the same.

For people interested in studying aviation related fields, CATC will join the Thailand International Education Expo 2010 to promote its training programmes. The expo will be held at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, from November 1921.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #659
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THAI's Q3 profits plunge 90%

By THE NATION Published on October 28, 2010

Thai Airways International would have shown huge profits in the third quarter without the huge foreign-exchange losses of Bt2.8 billion, DBS Vickers Securities (Thailand) said yesterday.

The securities house expects THAI's net profit to plunge 90 per cent from the previous quarter to Bt154 million due to the forex losses plus a Bt445 million write-off of spare parts and inventory. Though net profit was down, it was a strong turnaround from the Bt4-billion net loss in the same quarter last year.

In the third quarter, THAI's passenger cabin factor continued to improve to 74.7 per cent from 73.9 per cent in the third quarter and 64.7 per cent in the second quarter. It boosted its yield to Bt2 per kilometre from Bt1.9/km in the same quarter last year. The freight factor rose, while operating expenses remained under control.

Fourth-quarter results are expected to be better, as tourism enters the high season. During the first 10 days of this month, the cabin factor remained robust at 74 per cent, up from 73 per cent a month ago, while bookings for November 10 are already at 65 per cent. The yield also improved to Bt2.1/km from Bt1.98/km on September 10, and should continue to rise as special offers and promotions offered during the low season would be phased out.

"The small third-quarter net earnings might disappoint the market, but core earnings are a big improvement. We remain optimistic about THAI, as the turnaround is both external (rising travel demand from easing political tensions and improving economy) and internal (restructured operations)," it said.

DBS projects the airline's share price rising to Bt47.25. The stock closed yesterday at Bt45.50. While reporting that global international passenger traffic showed a 10.5-per-cent year-on-year increase last month, the International Air Transport Asso-ciation said Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 8.6-per-cent traffic increase over the previous September against a capacity increase of 6.9 per cent.

While the region led the recovery with an early surge in demand, growth this year has been largely flat. Traffic in the region remains 2 per cent below the pre-crisis peak of early 2008.

Tisco Securities expects THAI to report quarterly operating net profit of Bt3.54 billion, which marks a sharp improvement from the operating net loss of Bt1.25 billion in the same quarter last year. Its operating net profit is expected to be the highest among listed transport companies.

In the transport sector, Regional Container Lines is expected to turn in a quarterly net profit of Bt80 million, compared to a Bt681 million net loss in the same quarter last year. BTS Holdings Group should swing back to a net profit of Bt155 million against a Bt150 million net loss, and Airports of Thailand should report a profit of Bt158 million against a Bt4 million loss. Bangkok Expressway's net profit is expected to advance slightly.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 08:33 PM   #660
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THAI may mark record-breaking profits this year after EC drops case

THE NATION Published on November 13, 2010

Thai Airways International (THAI) may set a new record in profits thanks to the Bt4.29 billion set aside earlier for potential European Commission liability.

The airline was already ahead of its operational target, reporting Bt19.6 billion in profits for the first nine months, including the Bt4.29 billion transferred into its revenue after the EC dropped its case on Thursday against THAI on freight collusion.

From January to September, THAI made Bt12.4 billion, higher than the entire-year projection of Bt19.6 billion.

“This year will be a new record for net profits in THAI’s history of 50 years,” said Ampon Kittiampon, chairman of the national carrier.

Yesterday, THAI reported that it was able to increase its revenue despite the global economic crisis and internal political problems by earning Bt2.9 billion in foreign exchange (forex), compared with a third-quarter loss of Bt1.13 billion last year. Third-quarter revenue totalled Bt45.41 billion, which was 16 per cent higher than the same period in 2009 by Bt6.27 billion.

Expenses, not including forex gains or losses but including profits or losses from investments, were Bt42.51 billion, which was 5.50 per cent higher than the previous year’s expenses by Bt2.23 billion.

Because of a stronger baht, THAI incurred a foreign-exchange loss of Bt2.77 billion, but gained Bt136 million or Bt0.08 per share, which was higher than the same period in 2009, during which it recorded losses of Bt4.03 billion or Bt2.37 per share.

During the third quarter, cabin factor averaged 74.7 per cent, higher than the same period in 2009, which averaged at 73.9 per cent. The freight load factor averaged 61.3 per cent, higher than the previous year’s average of 53.8 per cent.

As of September 30, THAI and its subsidiaries’ combined assets totalled Bt281.26 billion, an increase of Bt9.57 billion from the end of last year.

The company’s board has agreed to have THAI obtain a short-term loan of Bt3 billion for three years from Siam Commercial Bank. The board has also acknowledged the progress of the Mutual Separation Plan for 2010, with the budget for this plan set at Bt2.3 billion.

The board also approved the establishment of a new joint-venture budget airline, Thai Tiger Airways. Details of the investment will be finalised next Friday.
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