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Old December 25th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #681
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Thai Tiger stuck in holding pattern Transport Ministry rejects plan as vague

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


Thai Airways International's renewed bid to set up a low-cost carrier offshoot together with Singapore-based Tiger Airways faces a new impediment from the Transport Ministry.

Transport Ministry permanent secretary Supoj Suplom told reporters on Tuesday that he referred the plan to set up Thai Tiger Airways (TTA) back to the national carrier because of its vagueness.

"The whole plan lacks details on issues like return on investment, strategy, route expansion and fleet expansion, so we asked them to furnish us with that vital data," he said.

The flag carrier recently submitted the plan along with its request to use 100 million baht from its normal investment fund as its initial capital for the establishment of TTA, to be owned 51% by THAI and 49% by Tiger Airways.

THAI opted to change the source of funding from its previous plan - so-called "contingency" coffers that faced bureaucratic complications as the ministry questioned the origin of the fund.

Mr Supoj said THAI now needs to clearly spell out where the money would come from, adding that the airline is required to submit such details to the ministry before the plan is scrutinised by the National Economic and Social Development Board and the cabinet.

The earliest possible date for such consideration is February, he added.

The formation of TTA will come under the consideration of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), which will look into various aspects such as marketing plans, routes and aircraft standards - a process that may take up to four months.

That means a TTA launch could be delayed until June, behind the announced date of the first quarter, according to the senior official.

THAI executives were not pleased with the ministry's move to use a technicality to block TTA's launch. The ministry officials raised their eyebrows when the THAI-Tiger deal was signed on Aug 2 without their prior knowledge.

The ministry has raised its concern about the legitimacy of such an airline and other issues.

A THAI spokeswoman said yesterday the airline was obliged to make the TTA plan as transparent as the ministry has advised.

"We understand that the ministry needs a totally clear picture when they consider projects," she said.

The plan will be updated for review first by THAI's board on Jan 14.

THAI is undaunted by the opposition and is determined to get TTA off the ground, even if it is at a date later than expected, she added.

The new budget carrier tentatively plans to start with eight routes. Seven will be out of Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Macau, Chennai and Shenzhen, while the eighth will be Phuket-Chiang Mai.

It would put five Airbus 320s into service next year and five more in 2012.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 08:46 PM   #682
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Thai Tiger set for launch early next year

The Nation Published on December 30, 2010


Is Thai Tiger Airways ready to take off in the first quarter of 2011 as planned?

Piyasvasti Amranand, president of Thai Airways International, the majority shareholder of the budget airline, believes so.

"I can't confirm when this new airline should start operating, but it should be as soon as the company is established and there are no unexpected issues," Piyasvasti said during a recent trip to New Zealand to attend the Star Alliance CEO meeting.

In August, THAI and Singapore-based Tiger Airways finalised talks about setting up a low-cost carrier formally called Thai-Tiger Airways. Since then, the parties have been working on the details and joint-venture agreement and expect to commence flight operations next year.

Already they have almost completed the agreement on the use of the investment of Bt99.8 million, business operations and shareholders' signing authority.

Thai Tiger Airways will focus on the "ultra low cost" market in the region, including domestic routes.

Most premium airlines, particularly in Asia, have been losing market share to no-frills rivals. Low-cost airlines hold 36 per cent of the business in Europe and 27 per cent in North America.

Budget airlines are expanding rapidly in Asia as well as in the Asean region. THAI's domestic market share has already dropped from 80 per cent to 50 per cent, while its regional share has slipped from 42 per cent to 30 per cent.

To regain passengers as well as to approach first-time air travellers, Thai Tiger was proposed to cope with this challenge in the region.

The company should be established by the end of the month.

Then the registration process and search for a CEO as well as staff can begin.

About 300 flight crew members, including experienced pilots, will be Thais, and 30 office workers will be needed.

The airline will also be looking for a modest office and 10 aircraft. Tiger Airways has already proposed to rent Airbus A320s to Thai-Tiger, but the deal hasn't been finalised yet.

Suvarnabhumi Airport could be used as the airport hub, but that could possibly be switched to Don Mueang Airport.

The new airline would serve major and competitive destinations such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, while Asean, China and India are key target markets.

It will also operate to high-potential destinations in the domestic market like Chiang Mai and Phuket.

"Thai Tiger will be the true Thai national low-cost airline and it will represent the story of a real low-cost carrier. Other players in the market are not real THAI firms," Piyasvasti said.

The operation would run at a loss in the first year, but pick up after that. The airline can survive if it can ensure an average occupancy rate over 75 per cent.

Nok Air, the sister budget airline of THAI, will continue operating locally, including to second-tier provinces like Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Buri Ram and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Nok Air had ambitions to extend its network overseas to markets like Indochina and India but the plan collapsed and it will passed on to Thai-Tiger Airways, he added.

Thai AirAsia is the biggest no-frills carrier in Thailand with over 60 per cent of the market.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #683
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THAI offers code-sharing to the Maldives

By The Nation 8/01/2011


Thai Airways International (THAI) is operating code-share flights to the Maldives in cooperation with Bangkok Airways, on the route Bangkok-Maldives-Bangkok.


Flights to the Maldives will be operated at a frequency of three flights per week on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, utilising Airbus A319 aircraft.


"The code-share agreement between THAI and Bangkok Airways on the return route from Bangkok to Maldives significantly offers more travel opportunities for passengers who book and travel with THAI. Through this code-share arrangement, more passengers will be able to travel to the Maldives, the island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of 26 atolls, and experience the renown pure beauty of the Maldives at its best," said Weerawat Swasdibutra, THAI General Manager for Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 05:54 PM   #684
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Don Mueang local flights to be moved

Bangkokpost Published: 10/01/2011 at 12:00 AM


Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) plans to close the domestic terminal at Don Mueang Airport and move flight operations to Terminal 1 (T1).

The relocation means that Nok Airlines and Orient Thai Airlines, the only scheduled carriers operating through the century-old airport, will move in April.

This paves the way for AoT to develop the site around the domestic terminal into an aircraft maintenance centre in the future, said airport general manager Prateep Wichitto.

AoT can also cut costs as T1 was only handling a couple of chartered international flights each month.

The two budget airlines together operate 30 to 40 point-to-point domestic flights per day through the domestic terminal.

AoT is earmarking 19 million baht to redecorate the interior of T1 and upgrade the air-conditioning to facilitate the relocated operations.

The two carriers' executives indicated they would bear the moving costs by themselves, though they said it was too early to know the figures.

Mr Prateep said T1 was connected with the parking building so there would be no inconvenience.

The relocation may form part of a redevelopment of Don Mueang, though the government remains indecisive about the airport's role.

There is a debate about whether the airport should be reactivated for international flights to compete with Suvarnabhumi, Thailand's main airport in Samut Prakan.

Officials have called for Don Mueang to be made into a maintenance centre for small and medium-sized aircraft, a landing gear maintenance centre for narrow-bodied aircraft, an aircraft parts stock management centre, a flight simulator facility, an international free-trade zone or a private jet/air taxi terminal. However, no decision has been made on the issues.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 07:27 PM   #685
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THAI wins best continental airline in Norway

By The Nation 11/01/2011


Thai Airways International (THAI) in Norway has once again won the prestigious award for "Best Intercontinental Airline" in the Norwegian Grand Travel Award 2011. It has won the award for 7 consecutive years.

The 16 th Annual Grand Travel Award was attended by leading Travel Agencies and key decision makers in the travel trade. A travel trade jury elected the nominees, and the voting was by random selection from more than 400 travel agents all over Norway.

Pricha Nawongs, THAI General Manager for Denmark and Norway, received the award on behalf of THAI at the ceremony in Oslo on January 6.

"I am honoured and very proud on behalf of all the THAI staff to receive this award," he said. "Since the route between Oslo and Bangkok was established in June 2009, the support from the Norwegian travel trade has been amazing. We have now increased to daily flights between Oslo and Bangkok; and from there further on to THAI's many destinations in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The award will encourage us to work even harder in the Norwegian market," he added.

In the category "Best Tourist Country", Thailand was the clear winner, once again, from more than ten countries nominated. Mrs. Nalinee Pananon , Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand in Scandinavia, received the award on behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 08:07 PM   #686
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THAI board considers 37 aircraft acquisition plan

By The Nation Published on January 13, 2011

Thai Airways International's board of directors today will consider the aircraft acquisition plan, whereby 37 aircraft would be acquired in the next seven years. Of total, 11 would be narrow body aircraft.

In 2017, THAI will operate with the fleet of 105 aircraft of which average life is lowered from 11.6 years to 8.4 year, said president Piyasvasti Amranand. The THAI fleet now covers 87 aircraft. Piyasvasti said the previous plan to acquire 15 aircraft was mainly to replace old ones, but the new aircraft would help improve the services.

He anticipates fierce competition to come from airlines in the Middle East and low-cost airlines. Meanwhile, the European debt crisis may also affect THAI's operations, as 40 per cent of its traffic is originated in the region.

THAI also plans to renovate four Airbus A340-500 in 2013, as since 2008 it has failed to find buyers for the long-range aircraft and now the aircraft's ticket prices are higher than variable cost. An old Boeing 747-400 could also be modified to a freighter, which will offer a lower operating cost than a new plane.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 08:08 PM   #687
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THAI board approves fleet modernisation plan

By The Nation Published on January 15, 2011


Thai Airways International's board of directors yesterday endorsed a revised sixyear investment plan (20112017), which includes the acquisition of 37 new aircraft to replace retired planes and accommodate business expansion.

THAI last year built up a solid foundation that paves the way for us to capture growth opportunities and increase our competitive edge," said president Piyasvasti Amranand. Much of the plan focuses on fleet modernisation.

This year THAI will retire 46 planes and take delivery of 26 aircraft: 12 Airbus A330300s, eight Boeing 777300ERs and six Airbus A380800s. It will also order 37 new aircraft.

By the end of the plan in 2017, THAI will have a fleet of 105 planes. With a lower average age, the fleet will be more fuelefficient, emit less and be cheaper to maintain.

The board also approved nine strategies aimed at achieving various goals including annual growth in passenger traffic of 5 per cent, which is close to the industry average, and annual revenue growth of 7-10 per cent.

The debt to equity ratio will be maintained at less than 2:1 through the period. THAI also plans to borrow Bt7 billion from the Government Savings Bank and Bt1 billion from CIMB Thai Bank for shortterm funding.

The board also acknowledged an offer by Krung Thai Bank to sell THAI 5 million shares in Nok Air at Bt30 apiece. THAI's management will discuss the offer with KTB next week. THAI proposed a price of Bt13 per share after an earlier KTB offer of Bt44.

The board approved bonus payments worth Bt4.2 billion to more than 20,000 employees and a 7 per cent increase in salaries this year, which will raise the company's financial burden by Bt60 million per month.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 06:18 PM   #688
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New Thai-Korean airline ready to take off

Bangkokpost Published: 24/01/2011 at 12:00 AM


Crystal Thai Airlines (CTA), a new startup commercial carrier with an ambition to become Thailand's third-largest airline, is getting ready to take to the skies early next month.

CTA, a 51:49 Thai-South Korean joint venture with 201 million baht in registered capital, is due to launch its maiden flights from Bangkok to Incheon and Muan, both in South Korea, on Feb 3, with two flights per week each.

The airline is led by Thai logistics businesswoman Manika Sawasdipan and has leased one Airbus A320, with 174 seats, said vice-president Pittipol Vannarot.

The airline is also acquiring a larger Airbus with a longer range - the A330-200 - through a lease in March to support expanding services. A second A320 is expected join the fleet by the end of this year, said Mr Pittipol.

Aside from South Korea, other destinations on its radar screen are Mumbai and Cochin in India, Clark (the Philippines), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Thimpu (Bhutan), Dubai and Phuket.

While the first A320 will be used to start services from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Incheon and Muan started, CTA intends to use the larger A330 for Incheon-Phuket services in March.

The A320, which has been in service for 19 years, would then be switched to a Bangkok-Colombo route with onward service to Dubai, he said.

The carrier, using the slogan "Wing of Asia", promises to offer low fares with premium service, meaning that meals will be served. Leisure travellers will form the bulk of CTA's passenger base.

Mr Pittipol said CTA's South Korean partners, whose names were not disclosed, had strong connections with travel agencies in South Korea and could ensure sufficient passenger loads.

CTA, which obtained its air operation certificate from the Department of Civil Aviation last year, has 14 cockpit staff and 25 cabin crew - all Thais - to support the launch of its services.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 08:16 PM   #689
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THAI stands firm on Bt30 offer for Nok Air stake

The Nation Published on January 25, 2011


Thai Airways International insists on paying Krung Thai Bank Bt30 each for shares in the budget airline Nok Air, against Bt44 proposed by the bank.


THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand, commenting yesterday on the progress towards buying a 10-per-cent stake in SkyAsia, operator of Nok Air, from state-owned KTB, said the company had not received any reply from the bank.

"The purchase price for Nok Air shares proposed by THAI is Bt30 per share, which was approved by the board," he said. "This is a proper price for the bank."

Moreover, Nok Air has recently revised down its forecast for results this year, affected by rising world oil prices, Piyasvasti said.

However, he said the negotiation for buying shares of Nok Air should end soon. The next talks are expected tomorrow.

THAI is expected to negotiate with KTB representatives of Krung Thai Bank next time on Wednesday (26).

According to a previous report, THAI proposed to buy 5 million shares or 10 per cent of Nok Air at Bt30 each, for a total of Bt150 million, higher that its previous proposal of Bt13 each. Meanwhile, KTB wanted to sell the shares at Bt44 each.

Piyasvasti said that if the purchase of Nok Air shares goes through, THAI shares would increase from 39 per cent to 49 per cent, meaning one more seat on the board of directors of Nok Air.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:33 AM   #690
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Old January 26th, 2011, 06:32 PM   #691
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Bangkok Airways keen on running small airports

Bangkokpost Published: 26/01/2011 at 12:00 AM


Bangkok Airways remains keen on assuming the management of 28 provincial airports run by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) after years of futile overtures.

Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, the airline's founder and chief executive, has reaffirmed his interest in response to a plan, announced recently by DCA's new chief, inviting private companies to manage the airports.

"We have always been interested in taking over the management of those airports," said Dr Prasert.

"Our position has not changed over the years as governments comes and go."

Under a plan outlined by DCA director Somchai Chanrod last month, the state agency would improve and maintain provincial airport infrastructure, while businesses would be encouraged to handle management and invest in operating systems.

Mr Somchai said the new approach was more realistic than previous policies that envisioned the private sector shouldering all the costs involved in improving, maintaining and operating the airports.

He likened the approach to having the government build roads while the private sector operated the buses that use the roads to serve the people.

Most of the airports operated by the DCA are derelict and have been ignored by airlines due to a lack of passenger traffic.

The department says that only five of the 28 provincial airports, including Krabi, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen, generated revenue in the fiscal year to last Sept 30, amounting to about 200 million baht.

Over the years, Dr Prasert has expressed his company's readiness to assume all the costs, potentially billions of baht, to renovate the airports and restore them to good working order.

Second, Bangkok Airways would ensure there all of the airports were handling commercial flights within two years of it assuming management.

Airports of Thailand Plc, the state-controlled airport entity that runs the country's six key airports including Suvarnabhumi, is interested in managing a couple of airports under DCA control with good traffic, such as Krabi.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:22 AM   #692
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I love these image hosted on flickr
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Old January 28th, 2011, 12:59 PM   #693
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Old January 30th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #694
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Old January 31st, 2011, 12:57 AM   #695
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Old February 1st, 2011, 04:25 PM   #696
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Old February 6th, 2011, 02:42 AM   #697
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Old February 7th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #698
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We'll be monitoring a new Southeast Asia Discussion thread. All posts related to Thai Aviation should now go here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1315033
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Old February 15th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #699
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US aviation academic backs Thai Airways safety culture

By The Nation Published on February 16, 2011


Thai Airways International is establishing a resilient safety culture so every employee can work in a secure and safe environment, while helping to maintain the company's safety standards.

"Safety has and always remains paramount to THAI without compromise," president Piyasvasti Amranand said.

Piyasvasti, management and staff attended a briefing at the head office on THAI safety culture and safetymanagement systems by Professor Terry von Thaden from the Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois.

More than 100 participants attended the session.

Von Thaden comes from a distinguished aviation family. Her grandmother, Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden, was an aviation pioneer, holder of numerous aviation records and the first woman to win the Bendix Trophy, a US aeronautical racing prize.

Von Thaden shared the results of a 2009 survey on THAI's safety culture that was conducted by her and Dechying Ruengvisesh, a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois.

Piyasvasti said this cooperation between THAI and the University of Illinois marked another important chapter in the airline's safety operations, showing its commitment to maintaining the highest practice in safety in all areas of operations.

"Results of this research will help us to realise where THAI stands within the aviation industry and practise strong points to further develop areas where improvements may be needed to ensure a strong safety culture in accordance with the Safety Management System as required by International Civil Aviation Organisation," he said.

The University of Illinois is ranked among the top five universities in the United States, recognised for its excellence in engineering. The project was supported by the US Federal Aviation Administration.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #700
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Bangkok Airways set to gain altitude Net profit projected to jump 41% this year

Bangkokpost Published: 17/02/2011 at 12:00 AM


Bangkok Airways expects to see further improvement in its balance sheet this year, with considerable increases in profitability, revenue and passenger numbers driven by a better business environment and its resumption of growth plan.


This year, the privately owned carrier expects a 40.9% jump in net profit to 892 million baht, a 27% rise in passenger revenue to 10.5 billion baht and a 19% increase in passenger traffic to 2.6 million.

President Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth yesterday outlined the 43-year-old airline's financial outlook as the company finished 2010 with a major turnaround from 2009 when it was hit by an industry downturn,

The carrier last year recorded a net profit of 633 million baht, a reversal from a 460-million-baht loss it suffered in 2009.

Passenger revenue for 2010 increased to 8.2 billion baht from 6.5 billion baht in 2009, while passenger volume rose to 2.6 million, up from 2.5 million a year earlier.

"2011 will be a productive year for us, a result of our business rehabilitation in the past two years which enable us to move ahead again," Capt Puttipong said.

After years of limited expansion, the carrier, which brands itself as "Asia's boutique airline", is resuming its growth plan this year. It plans to make a foray into India and Bangladesh, expand its fleet and increase frequencies on its existing network.

The airline on March 2 will launch the Bangkok-Mumbai service and on March 27 start Bangkok-Dhaka, with six flights a week and seven a week respectively, on Airbus A319 and A320 jetliners.

An additional new Airbus A319 will join the airline's fleet by the end of this year and another A319 is due for delivery next year.

Its current fleet consists of 17 aircraft - eight ATR turboprops, three A320s and six A319s.

Capt Puttipong is upbeat about the prospect of its subcontinent flight launch despite its late entry.

"We are confident of achieving a 60% overall load factor for both routes. Mumbai and Dhaka are large financial centres, with some 700,000 Indian nationals flying to Thailand in 2010 and over 60,000 passengers from Dhaka. A 15-20% increase on these numbers is expected this year."

Bangkok Airways will offer competitive fares to ensure early success for the subcontinent service launch, with all-in round-trip promotional fares starting from slightly over 9,000 baht for the Bangkok-Mumbai route.

Overall flight frequencies in 2011 will be increased to 20%, thanks to the additional capacity available from the new A319.
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