TRAVEL & TOURISM
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

SWISS modifies aircraft orders

Doctors to accompany all THAI flights from 4 nations

Phuket tourism agents offer budget package tour to spur business

SWISS modifies aircraft orders

In view of the currently unfavorable economic projections for 2003, Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) has revised its ongoing fleet renewal program. The company is reducing its firm orders for EMBRAER 170 and EMBRAER 195 aircraft from 60 to 30, with the first deliveries rescheduled to 2004. The number of option held on the new types is also being reduced, from 100 to 20 aircraft. SWISS is also in negotiations with Airbus. The first seven A340s will be delivered as planned. Talks aimed at rescheduling delivery of the final five A340s are currently in progress with Airbus.

New Swiss A340 Aircraft

SWISS is responding to the continuing crisis in the air transport industry by modifying its current fleet renewal program. Adjustments are being made to both the number of EMBAER aircraft ordered and the timetable for their delivery. At the same time, however, SWISS has expressly confirmed its commitment to its chosen fleet concept and its partner EMBRAER; and the aircraft ordered remain and cornerstone of the company’s future business strategy. In view of the current economic situation and the presently far-from-favorable business projection, SWISS and EMBRAER have agreed to modify the carrier’s order with the manufacturer from 60 to 30 aircraft (15 EMBRAER 170s and 15 EMBRAER 195s). The number of options is also being reduced, from 100 to 20 aircraft.

Delivery of the first aircraft has also been rescheduled to one year after August 2003, the original handover date.

The simulator for the 70-seat EMBRAER 170 will, be stalled in Basel this summer according to plan, enabling SWISS Aviation training to offer corresponding training services to its customers. Delivery of the 108-seat EMBRAER 195 remains unchanged from 2006 onwards.


Doctors to accompany all THAI flights from 4 nations

Thai Airways International announced that two doctors are accompanying all flights coming to and from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and that a doctor has been posted at these countries’ international airports.

THAI has introduced these measures as part of a plan to ensue confidence among its passengers that the national airline is doing everything to deal with the situation.

“THAI has also posted medical personnel at the international airports of these countries believed to be most affected by the deadly pneumonia outbreak. They will check the health of all passengers before allowing them to board THAI flights,” the airline’s president Kanok Abhiradee said. He added that THAI is also now checking all postal parcels being sent to Thailand from these countries.

“Although these measures may lead to a fall in bookings, the safety of our passengers comes first,” Kanok said.

Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan, who has taken a tough stance on the issue, said Thailand will quarantine all passengers in any aircraft for 14 days if even just one of them is found to have the deadly flu.

“Passengers who arrive in Thailand from these countries must go through a special area away from the main terminal for a check-up before they can be allowed to enter the country,” Sudarat said. (TNA)


Phuket tourism agents offer budget package tour to spur business

Phuket Travel Agents Association is offering budget tour packages in an attempt to lure Thais to travel within the country after international tourist arrivals decline in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq and the deadly pneumonia outbreak in the region.

Pattanapong Ekwanich, President of Phuket Travel Agents Association said, “The war in Iraq crippled the travel business in the resort province of Phuket. Twenty percent of hotel cancellations showed a drop in numbers of European and Scandinavian tourists. Currently, the average hotel occupancy accounts for only 50 percent.”

He said the association is targeting regional markets such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, and Australia to offset the lost revenue gained from European tourist arrivals.

However, transmission of the flu-like virus SARS reported in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam has put off Thailand’s road shows in those countries. Pattanapong revealed that they are taking measures to iron out the problems in the short term and will promote Thailand to attract local tourists.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in cooperation with Bangkok Airways, and The Thai Hotels Association offer a tourism promotion campaign for tourists to visit the Andaman Sea region from April 16 to July 31. The package is expected to lure 7,000 tourists to Phuket and earn the province about 35-45 million baht.

Wandee Changngam, assistant director of Club Andaman Beach Resort Hotel’s Public Relations Department said that the occupancy rate has fallen 30-40 percent. She said these figures are in line with those of other five star hotels in Phuket.

“Now the war in Iraq does not adversely affect Thai tourism industry as much as the outbreaks of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome),” Wandee said. (TNA)