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British and Thai aviation authorities clip Phuket Air’s wings

The mighty Mekong will be conquered again

What’s new in Asia Pacific in April and May 2005

British and Thai aviation authorities clip Phuket Air’s wings

Jeremy Colson

Thailand’s department of aviation has grounded Phuket Air’s entire fleet and will not allow any of the carrier’s 19 aircraft to fly international or domestic routes until they are deemed safe for passengers.

UK Department of Civil Aviation Authority inspected a 25-year-old aircraft after it landed in London and forced it to return empty to Bangkok for repair. Seen here when the world was still OK, Patana Tareekes, vice president of Phuket Air.

Thai Department of Aviation (DoA) deputy governor, Chaisak Angkasuwan, told TTG Daily News: “We have terminated all their (Phuket Airways) flights within Thailand and overseas and we are now checking them aircraft by aircraft.”

The move by Thailand’s highest aviation authority follows a demand by their UK counterparts who said in a statement on Friday they would not allow further Phuket Air flights into the UK without assurances from the Thai DoA the aircraft were up to international standard.

Meanwhile, passengers booked to fly from Bangkok to London Gatwick at 11.50 p.m. last Monday were being told they would instead be booked into local hotels pending clearance by Thailand’s aviation inspectorate.

“We are planning to fly Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. using the Boeing 747-300 aircraft that we are also using on our Bangkok-Amsterdam route,” said a Phuket Air spokesman.

Earlier, the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office issued an air safety advisory which stated: “The UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has inspected three aircraft used by Phuket Air on services to Gatwick, two of which were found not to comply fully with international aviation standards.”

The mighty Mekong will be conquered again

Armin Schoch prepares a new expedition

Reinhard Hohler

In November 2005 Rib Expedition and Adventure in cooperation with Impulse Tourism in Chiang Mai will organize an expedition on the Mekong River with two rigid inflatable boats (Ribs) of 8 meters length. The boats made by AB Inflatables in Venezuela are especially equipped for river expeditions.

An inflatable “Rib” boat. Extremely strong and stable with a hard fiberglass bottom.

Armin Schoch who recently founded Impulse Tourism Company in Chiang Mai is a man of long standing in the tourism business. Having successfully co-organized the Hovercraft Expedition Mekong in November 2002 as Group General Manager for Diethelm Travel in Bangkok, Armin knows the Mekong River itself as well as its banks. He is also leading negotiations for the river expeditions planned on the Irrawady and Salween in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Rib Expedition and Adventure is a company based on the Spanish island of Mallorca, and the man to contact if you wish to take part in this project and participate, is Andy Leemann. He is the archetypal traveler and sportsman. Apart from land traveling, Andy Leemann has many years of experience as a professional cruising and racing skipper on traditional as well as modern sailing vessels and has sailed more than 100,000 nautical miles.

The inflatable “Rib” boats are extremely strong and stable with a hard fiberglass bottom. Tried and tested by professionals, they became more and more popular for recreational purposes. Consequently, the “Rib” industry is among the fastest growing segments of the boating sector of commerce. As compared to other boats, these “Ribs” have a rather low price, relatively little weight and are very easy to transport. They are robust, fast, and reliable, and what is the most important advantage, they are really safe. Their maneuverability and little draught allow their deployment in extremely difficult and shallow waters. In accordance with the specific needs on the Mekong River, they come with strong Yamaha outboard engines of 225 HP.

If you like nature, adventure and challenge, you can join the expedition, which will take three weeks and starts in November at the end of the rainy season. From Simao Port in the Chinese Province of Yunnan, the trip touches Guan Lei and follows the river south to the Golden Triangle and Luang Prabang in Laos. From there you will reach Vientiane and pass Savannakhet, a town that mirrors the charm of colonial French Indochina.

After having visited Wat Phu in Champasak Province, the trip will approach the 4,000 islands of Si Phan Don, where the “Rib” boats are hauled out of the river and transported on land to be launched again on the other side of the impeding waterfalls. Reaching the backwaters of rural Cambodia, the trip reaches Phnom Penh, from where a side trip on the Tonle Sap will be made to see the heart of the ancient Khmer Empire with the Angkor Wat temple complex and the huge city of Angkor Thom. The last part of the journey leads from Cambodia into the fertile Mekong Delta and on to Ho Chi Minh City, where the expedition ends.

The costs for the down river and up river expeditions are 9,900 Euro per person, including all services mentioned in the soon to be published itineraries. Not included in the costs for the expedition are the needed international flights and expenditure of a personal nature.

For further information, please contact Andy Leemann by e-mail [email protected] pe di or GMS Media Travel Consultant Reinhard Hohler by email [email protected] cmnet

What’s new in Asia Pacific in April and May 2005

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

Travel News and Product Updates

One of the holiday islands just off Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort. (Photo: Marion Vogt)

I-TIM offers hotel and tourism diploma in Thailand. I-TIM, the International Hotel and Tourism Industry Management School, Bangkok is accepting applications for the July 2005 intake for the two-year diploma program in Hotel and Tourism Management. Salaried overseas internships are available to selected students in the second year of the programme. For further information e-mail: [email protected] Web site:

Dive into PADI
diving society

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Asia Pacific and Asian Geographic Magazines have launched the PADI Diving Society in Asia Pacific, a diver membership society dedicated to the underwater world and the exciting diving lifestyle. Scuba Diver Australasia will be the official publication in the Asia Pacific region featuring diving adventures, lifestyle, training, equipment reviews, marine science, destinations and photography. A percentage of each new or renewed membership will be donated to Project AWARE and OceanNEnvironment. Members will receive a membership card, a member benefits book with discount vouchers and coupons for equipment, travel and training from PADI members worldwide plus a one year subscription to Scuba Diver Australasia. For further information visit:

Hong Kong Disneyland searches for talent

Hong Kong Disneyland has launched a recruitment drive to hire 3,000 frontline cast members (Disney’s term for employees). Set to open on September 12, 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland is inviting eligible candidates to apply for cast member roles for a variety of departments including hotel operations, merchandise, food and beverage, entertainment, park operations, costuming and custodial and security services. For further information visit: www.hongkongdis ney

Lonely Planet unveils new titles

Lonely Planet released new titles and editions in March 2005. New country and regional guides include England, Austria, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, and Bali and Lombok. City guides cover St. Petersburg and the Best of Las Vegas. Croatian and Hungarian phrasebooks have been released along with a travel writing reference written by Don George. For further information tel: (61-3) 8379-8000. Fax: (61-3) 8379-8111. E-mail: [email protected]

Meet at The Landmark Bangkok.

The Landmark Bangkok is offering special rates for meeting packages. Prices start at US$120++ for a single room per person and US$140++ for a double room with a minimum of 10 delegates. Benefits include superior room accommodation, daily American buffet breakfast, full-day use of the meeting rooms with audio-visual equipment, two coffee breaks, lunch at a choice of five outlets, logo display in the meeting room, group photograph with a copy for each delegate, welcome cocktails hosted by the hotel, early check in and late check out, use of the Health Club and two pieces of laundry per day. The offer is valid until September 30, 2005. For reservations and further information tel: (66-2) 254-0404. E-mail: [email protected] Media e-mail: communications @

Enjoy a Shangri-La Dream Escapade in Singapore

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are offering a “Dream Escapade” package at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort, Singapore until December 20, 2005. The package includes a 40% discount on the suites, with a daily breakfast at the Silver Shell Cafe and a half-bottle of champagne. Children under 12 years old receive complimentary buffet meals at the Silver Shell Cafe when accompanied by one paying adult per child. For further information, please contact: (65) 6235-1666. E-mail: [email protected]

Select seats online at SIA

Singapore Airlines has enhanced its online seat selection service to allow passengers to choose their preferred seats in all classes when they book their flights online. A customer who books and pays for the flight on the Singapore Airlines Web site can select specific seats from those available at the time of booking. To date, customers have only been able to request an aisle or window seat. The service is not available on code share flights operated with another airline’s aircraft, except for those between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur where generic seat selection will continue. Besides online check in, customers can subscribe to flight alerts via e-mail and SMS, informing them of check-in availability, flight departures and other flight information. For further information visit: www

Qantas Holidays travels to Phuket

Qantas Holidays is offering holiday packages to Phuket, Thailand on six special Australian Airlines charter flights departing from Sydney in June and July, 2005. The packages start from AU$1,099 (US$842) per person twin share, plus surcharges, fees and taxes (AU$149) for departures on 18 July and 25 July. Prices for departures on June 20 and 27 and July 4 and 11, start from AU$1,299 per person twin share, plus surcharges, fees and taxes (AU$149). The offer includes return economy class flights from Sydney to Phuket with Australian Airlines, eight nights of accommodation at the Front Village Hotel, full daily breakfast, and return airport/hotel transfers. This offer is valid for sale until July 25, 2005. For further information visit: