THAI and Star Alliance
in drive to increase revenue
Thai Airways International (THAI) could generate
substantial extra revenue by optimizing its existing fleet and new aircraft
on order when operating out of the new Suvarnabhumi Airport, according to
executives of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance.
THAI’s chairman, Thanong Bidaya, who chaired a recent
meeting with Star Alliance, said improved connectivity across the THAI fleet
in the future, particularly with the resources offered by Suvarnabhumi
Airport, would help Bangkok’s drive to be the pre-eminent hub in Asia.
left) Star Alliance Team: Maxwell Reily, Stephan Nagel, Jaan Albrecht, CEO
Star Alliance; THAI Team: Kanok Abhiradee, THAI president, Dr. Thanong
Bidaya, THAI chairman, Dr. Chai-anan Samudavanija, THAI board member, Dr.
Vichit Suraphongchai, THAI board member, and Dr. Olarn Chaipravat, THAI
Statistics show that Bangkok is already the busiest
airport in Asia with 30,000 passengers per day more than airports at Narita,
Japan; Seoul, Korea; Singapore and Auckland, New Zealand, the sites of the
four other Star Alliance carriers in Asia/Pacific, and only 10,000
passengers per day less than O’Hare Airport in Chicago, USA, the world’s
Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht said implementation of
the new global connectivity improvement programme would strengthen the Star
Alliance concept. The global connectivity concept involves improving
aircraft connection times through Bangkok Airport. For example, changes to
the connection times of just four flights can give THAI up to an extra 22
connections. This would result in 50 percent more passengers passing through
Suvarnabhumi Airport at that time; 7,000 more new passengers per week and
provide a strong basis for future expansion.
THAI’s president, Kanok Abhiradee, who initiated the
idea with Star Alliance, said better connectivity could bring THAI an
additional 350,000 passengers from other non-Star Alliance airlines. Kanok
has strongly supported THAI taking an aggressive approach to maximizing its
hub strategy with the opening of the Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Star Alliance, of which THAI is one of the five founding
members, was started in 1997. It now has 15 members with two new members:
South African Airways and TAP Portugal due to join next year.
The members are: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways,
Austrian Airlines, Asiana Airlines, bmi, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, SAS
Scandinavian, Spanair, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International,
United Airlines, US Airways and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.
New hotel happy with Chiang Mai occupancy rates
Located in the heart of the city downtown, near the
Chiang Mai night bazaar, the newly opened Duangtawan Hotel is drawing its
mostly Thai domestic guests for seminars and workshops, while Japanese
tourists on sight-seeing holidays run second.
Duangtawan Hotel, the new paradise located in the heart of Chiang Mai
City. (Photo supplied by Duangtawan Hotel)
The occupancy rate during this low season is about 90
percent, said Benchawan Chaemvimol, senior sales and public relations
manager for the hotel. “Normally, the tour groups are more than
government sector meetings, followed by walk-in guests sometimes as high
as 30-40 rooms per night,” she said.
The hotel has been outfitted in elegant modern Thai
architecture with Thai silk furnishing and contemporary Thai art.
The Duangtawan is one of seven in the hotel chain with three in
Pattaya, one in Phuket, one in Koh Samui, one in Bangkok and the latest
one in Chiang Mai.
Street Carnival promises to be bigger and better than last year
Grand opening of tourist season
To mark the opening of the tourist season, the
beginning of the cool season, the start of the Christmas shopping season
and whatever your heart desires will be celebrated with an even larger
Street Carnival than in the past. The event will be held shortly after the
Loy Krathong festivities.
Thailand 2003, Chalisa Boonkrongsap will promote the Mardi Gras this year.
That is the promise from Chiang Mai City fathers for
the December 9-12 Street Carnival, Chiang Mai Mardi Gras 2004. “Last
time, there were only 20 floats in the street carnival parade, but there
will be many more this year,” announced Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert
Mayor Boonlert also said the venue will change from the
night bazaar area to Chang Klan Plaza on Chang Klan Road. This will make
it easier for the artists who are planning spectacular shows and
performances of local and regional arts, culture and entertainment. The
main carnival area will start from Saengtawan intersection to the Lanna
Palace Hotel intersection, which will be closed during the event from 6
p.m. - 1 a.m. each evening.
“The northern charm will be upgraded to an
international level of tourism promotion of arts and cultures here in Asia
in the future,” he stressed. Mayor Boonlert would like to make the
Chiang Mai Street Carnival as well known as the Pattaya Music Festival,
the Hua Hin Jazz Music Festival and the Samui Carnival. It will also be a
stage for talented youth to showcase their abilities at a national level.
Organizers plan to divide the Mardi Gras into six
different categories. The first will be the food and drink zone decorated
in fancy Lanna style. The second will be a music festival featuring Thai
artists. The third will be a cultural and performing arts program, from
dance to play, alternating with a music carnival contest for 17 to 25 year
olds. The fourth category will be street performances, with paintings
elephants, and drawings by artists from the north. The fifth will be the
Mardi Gras shopping and travel zone, which is designed for products and
souvenirs, tourist information and services as well as an area for the
street carnival OTOP zone, and kad mua or traditional morning market.
Finally, the sixth category will be “the highlights”, a unique parade
which is still in the planning stages, but the rumors say that even a
parade of diplomats, consuls, and embassy officials could be in the
Live web broadcast during the grand opening ceremony will be done and
this year there will be parades, a fancy dress contest, a beauty contest
and several bands and musicians who already have confirmed their
attendance. They include famous artists and singers from Korea and Taiwan,
Ad Carabao, the Beatlenuts Band, the Dynamics, the Nuveau Brothers, a
concert of KOH (Mr. Saxman), guitar kings of Thailand Lam Morisson and
“Gun” Kitti, as well as the Elvises of Chiang Mai.
Member of Expedition
Mekong 2002 visits Chiang Mai
Cyriel Van Tilborgh remembers his travel experience
At the end of August, Belgian Cyriel van Tilborgh,
director of the KBC Bank in Antwerp and professor of marketing at Lessius
University, spoke about his past experiences with Expedition Mekong 2002
that was co-organized by Armin Schoch.
Cyriel explained that travelling was always a passion
for him. His philosophy in life was always to mix his career with his
passionate hobby of travel. Many people start ‘living’ too late in
life and postpone ambitious travel projects until their retirement, which
he feels is not a good thing to do.
Travelling on waterways is an unforgettable experience,
because you are in closest contact with the daily life of the local
people. This was the reason Cyriel joined Expedition Mekong in November
2002, covering the six countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS),
comprising Yunnan/China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The exciting expedition was not his maiden trip within
the region of dragons, spirits and lotus flowers. He had already been to
Vietnam and had authored a beautifully illustrated book about Vietnam in
the series “Colors of the World” published in Belgium.
Remembering Expedition Mekong 2002, he said that
sometimes it was really difficult to find the right way in the labyrinth
of river channels surrounded by forests. The heavy hovercraft was often
difficult to handle near rapids and other obstacles. Nevertheless,
travelling by water gave him a new impression of different colors every
minute. These were memories which will stay a lifetime.
Such travelling gives you three important different
experiences. First, you have to prepare in detail what the project is
about and then of course, you have the trip itself and its realization,
and lastly and maybe the most valuable experience is to recall all the
travel adventures, specific anecdotes and exciting happenings after the
trip at home. To summarize all these experiences into a book is the
Regarding the vexed question of travel to Myanmar, Cyriel believes that
it is better to inspire other travellers to visit the country and not to
stay away because of the military government. It makes more sense when
many more “eyes” see the country, to understand and support the local