Vol. III No. 35 - Saturday August 28 - September 3 2004
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nok Air and 7-Eleven celebrates Chiang Mai take-off

Thailand and THAI organize Thai Food and Fruits Festival in Bangladesh

Thai AirAsia denies negative reports

THAI Cooking Class during Princess Chulabhorn International Science Congress

THAI Maintains Present Fuel Surcharge

Thailand on target for 12 million arrivals

Open-sky policy facilitates travel between Thailand and Laos

Nok Air and 7-Eleven celebrates Chiang Mai take-off

Nok Air, as part of the launch of its operations to Chiang Mai, celebrated the take off with the airline’s convenience provider partner, 7-Eleven Counter Service Plus.

Prasert Manuphibul, general manager, Counter Service Co. Ltd. and Piya Yodmani, Nok Air’s executive vice president business operations (third from right) present a souvenir to Wanlop Namwongphrom, representative from the temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep during the launch of Nok Air operations in Chiang Mai.

Nok Air joined with Thailand’s largest convenience store chain, 7-Eleven, and its subsidiary, Counter Service Plus, to offer Nok Air customers a unique and easy payment option for Nok Air tickets. This option is added to the other channels Nok Air provides, including the 1318 call center 1318, Nok Air website, and for SCB and KTC card holders, through their ATMs nationwide.

Nok Air has daily flights to Chiang Mai, Had Yai, and Udon Thani. Reservations can be made at www.nokair. co.th or by calling 1318.

Thailand and THAI organize Thai Food and Fruits Festival in Bangladesh

Thailand’s ambassador to Bangladesh, H.E. Phithak Phrombubpha hosted ‘A Taste of Thai’ in the form of a Thai food and fruits festival. Amongst those who tried the tasty Thai cuisine and produce was Air Vice Marshal Altaf Hossaih Chowdury, Bangladesh’s minister for commerce. The festival was jointly organized by Thai Airways International with food and fruit displays and cooking demonstrations carried out by THAI’s Catering department

(From left) Nivat Chantarachoti, general manager THAI Bangladesh; Prakaidao Hovatanakul, district sales manager, Upper-Northern Thailand; Air vice Marshal Altaf Hossaih Chowdury, Bangladesh’s minister for commerce and HE Phithak Phrombubpha, Thailand’s ambassador to Bangladesh.

Thai AirAsia denies negative reports

Reaffirms favorable second half projections

A newswire report that Thai AirAsia’s operations were behind projections due to rising fuel cost has been denied by the company. Thai AirAsia, the sister company of Malaysia’s Berhad, states that first half losses were fully expected with the start-up of any new airline, and were in line with projections.

Thai AirAsia’s chief executive officer, Tassapon Bijleveld, “We have no plans to increase our fares, but will continue to provide low fares as a way to stimulate demand.”

Operations for Thai AirAsia began in February this year, and up to June 30th, results were better than had been expected. Thai AirAsia has to date carried over 500,000 passengers. Yields and costs were in accordance with budget.

Projections for second half of 2004 are on track and remain very favorable. Thai AirAsia says it remains committed to its low fares and sees no need to raise them. Loads for July and August remain very strong at 87 percent and 85 percent respectively.

Thai AirAsia cancelled the Nakhon Ratchasima leg due to the poor response. The route was discontinued with the approval of Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation.

Thai AirAsia will continue to increase frequencies and introduce new routes to its existing operations. A second Bangkok-Macau service and a third Bangkok-Singapore service is expected to be rolled out in the third quarter. The airline would also be introducing a third Bangkok-Hat Yai daily flight.

AirAsia Berhad Group Chief Executive Officer, Tony Fernandes said, “We are thrilled with the development of Thai AirAsia. After only six months, we have carried over 500,000 passengers, built a new brand, a new distribution system and introduced seven domestic and three international routes. We remain very bullish in the growth plans of Thai AirAsia.”

THAI Cooking Class during Princess Chulabhorn International Science Congress

Public Relations Office

On the occasion of The Fifth Princess Chulabhorn International Science Congress V held August 16-20 at Shangri-La Hotel, Thai Airways International (THAI), as the official carrier flying delegates to Thailand, organized a Thai Cooking Class for delegates’ spouses.

Delegates and Spouses enjoying Thailand

It was presented by THAI’s Catering Department where the chefs suggested the recipes and demonstrated cooking some famous Thai dishes.

The spouses were impressed with the traditional Thai ways of cooking and had a chance to try and taste their own cooking. After the cooking class, the group toured the airline’s Catering Department and observed first hand the production of meals.

THAI Maintains Present Fuel Surcharge

Kanok Abhiradee, president of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, said that THAI will not increase the current fuel surcharge and the airline will closely monitor the situation.

Along with other airlines, THAI announced implementation of a fuel surcharge in mid June 2004, which is included in the passenger ticket, as fuel prices continued to rise, causing an increase in the airline’s fuel-related expenses. Regional and Middle East routes have a fuel surcharge of 7.50 USD or approximately 300 baht per flight coupon, Intercontinental routes including Australia and New Zealand have a fuel surcharge of 15 USD or approximately 600 baht per flight coupon.

“THAI currently has no policy to increase a fuel surcharge, but we are closely monitoring the situation and evaluating the effects which may occur as a result. If the world fuel price continues to surge, every airline around the world may consider increasing the surcharge,” said Abhiradee.

For the fuel hedging, THAI has made fuel hedging at the rate of 10 percent of the total amount of fuel usage and may consider further hedging if market condition is favorable.

Thailand on target for 12 million arrivals

Thailand’s tourism and sports minister, Sontaya Khunpluen, told the Thai Cabinet that the country was “very much on target” to reach its target of 12 million visitors for this year.

The minister said his confidence had been boosted by figures showing arrivals at Bangkok International Airport (BIA) for the first two weeks of August were 23.6 per cent up on the same period last year.

“This follows last month’s figure of 731,000 arrivals which was 24 per cent up on July 2003. All in all we are very pleased with progress so far this year,” the minister said.

Arrivals at BIA for the first six months of the year were 4.57 million which would probably translate into total arrivals of 6.09 million and revenue of 194,800 million baht (US$4.69 billion), said a ministry spokesman.

Insiders believe the bulk of arrivals came from within the region, but there has also apparently been a 30 per cent increase in arrivals from the US. The first quarter showed an increase of only 4.43 per cent over the first quarter of 2003 and an increase of only 2.7 per cent over the same period in 2002. (TTG Asia)

Open-sky policy facilitates travel between Thailand and Laos

The liberalization of air travel between Thailand and Laos has greatly facilitated travel between the two countries, according to Deputy Transport Minister Vichet Kasemthongsr. Vichet said that successful negotiations at the beginning of the month on the launch of an ‘open-sky’ policy between Thailand and Laos had served to free up travel between the two sisters’ countries, with airlines allowed to fly to any point in either country without restrictions.

The new policy also allows airlines to enter into code sharing arrangements. Vichet expressed confidence that the liberalization of air traffic between the two countries would see a huge influx of Laotian tourists into Thailand in the future.

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