- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
BCCT Tourism committee meets
The pleasure of flying
BCCT Tourism committee meets
Attending the inaugural meeting
were Mr. Trevor Allen, Committee Chairman with Committee members (l-r)
Andrew Wood, Tom Bishop, Marc Hagelauer, Julianne Rogers, Mr. Allen, Florian
Preuss and John Watson.
The inaugural meeting of the British Chamber of Commerce
of Thailand’s Travel and Tourism committee recently meet at the Pacific City
Club in Bangkok to outline its objectives. For more information about BCCT
check out: BCCT Information Services http://www.bccthai.com
The pleasure of flying
Raini Hamdi, TTG Asia
A first-class product agent may want to consider Gulf Air’s new Premium
Experience for smart clients who want to fly stylishly but do not want to
break the bank.
O’Hare, Head of Marketing shows off the new first class section on Gulf Air.
I tried it recently, flying from Singapore to Sydney, and found the product,
at US$2,381, a super value-for-money deal. Singapore Airlines (SIA) charges
more than twice for first class from Singapore to Sydney. Granted, SIA is
the undisputed king of the skies, particularly after the roll-out of its new
first- and business-class cabins in the Extended Range Boeing 777-300, but
not everyone can buy such fares without batting an eyelid.
I would happily settle for Gulf Air’s new Premium Experience, first
introduced in the last quarter of 2006 and – as with all next-generation
airline cabin products – is an improvement. It is clear the current
next-generation roll-outs center around more private space and luxury as
people have to travel more frequently with as much hassle as before. Gulf
Air said it was about “putting the pleasure back into flying”.
The Gulf Air first-class cabin had just eight fully flat Sky Beds (24 in
business-class, with no middle seat). I liked the colors – burgundy carpet
with just a hint of Arabic motif, golden boards, and gray and chocolate hues
for the seats, curtains and other furnishings. These gave a rich, warm glow
to the cabin.
Its first-class innovations, including chauffeur-driven limousine transfer
from home to airport and the Sky Chef had become more polished and were
delivered with a lot more heart. I dare say the Sky Chef innovation is a
feather in Gulf Air’s cap over SIA’s.
Onboard my flight was Sky Chef Luke Herbert. Based on what he served when I
asked for a salad, along with chicken and mushroom vol au vent with
rosemary-scented chicken veloute in a savory pastry case, I had no doubt
about his ability.
The idea of an a la carte menu and a lighter bedside one from which you
could design your meal and have it at your own time, cooked a la minute by a
personal chef, and served by him, brought true gourmet dining to the skies.
Sky Chef Luke also doubled up as personal butler, providing turndown
service. I forgot the adapter for my laptop and he immediately produced one.
Oh, the joy of working comfortably for seven hours without the battery going
dead or the cramped space making you miserable. The whole day had gone, yet
I did not feel it. On the contrary, it was a productive day with fine food
and service, and that had to be the mark of a great flight.
The only spoiler was a stewardess who during landing, spoke nonstop and
loudly to the chef. This ruined the elegant ambience of the cabin, filled
with passengers who spoke softly so as not to disturb other passengers.
Otherwise my journey was as Gulf Air had promised: a total experience from
home to destination and pleasurable overall, with enough money for shopping
EXTROPY, a Singapore-based ground transportation and
airport services management company, has launched what it claims to be
Asia’s first service that allows the pre-booking of executive meet-and-greet
and airside transit services. M&gnet is an online booking tool that offers a
range of personal services to help busy, frequent fliers. The services cover
arrivals, departures and transfers, and packages are also available for
specific groups such as women travelers and those with special language
Prices start from US$30 for transfer services at Suvarnabhumi Airport to
US$99 for arrival or departure services at Hong Kong International Airport.
Bookings can be made online at www. magnetASIA.com.
THAILAND recorded a slight on-the-year increase in international tourist
arrivals in the first quarter, despite the number of tourists coming to the
kingdom dropping for the third consecutive month.
There were more than 2.6 million international arrivals at Suvarnabhumi
Airport from January to March - a two per cent increase on the year,
according to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) figures.
The Middle East market was the big mover in the first quarter, with arrivals
climbing 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2006.
Arrivals from Europe jumped 13.5 per cent on the year - the second biggest
East Asian arrivals to Thailand dropped 8.5 per cent in the first quarter on
the year, according to TAT.
Arrivals from China, Singapore and Japan dropped 24 per cent, 16 per cent
and 7.5 per cent respectively.
Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan arrivals were down six per cent, 4.5 per cent
and two per cent respectively.
IN 2005, Asia’s airlines ordered 400 aircraft from Boeing (39 per cent of
total orders received by Boeing that year) and 526 aircraft from Airbus (47
per cent of total Airbus orders). They did it again in 2006 when they
ordered 330 of the 1,050 aircraft sold by Boeing (31 per cent of total
Orders received by Airbus from Asian airlines totaled 337, representing 41
per cent of total orders received by Airbus in 2006.
Airbus’s first A380 will be delivered to Singapore Airlines (SIA) in October
and throughout 2008, and all deliveries will be made to only three customers
– SIA, Qantas and Emirates. Other Asia-Pacific A380 customers include Korean
Air, China Southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways International
(THAI) and Kingfisher Airlines. These account for 66 of the 166 A380s
Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner also boasts strong patronage from airlines in
Asia-Pacific. These airlines – including All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan
Airlines (JAL), Air New Zealand (ANZ), Jetstar, Qantas, Air Pacific, SIA,
Vietnam Airlines and numerous Chinese carriers, and are committed to
operating at least 290 B787s of the slightly more than 500 ordered
worldwide. The first B787 is expected to roll out on July 8, 2007.
In Asia’s other economic powerhouse – India – airlines too have ordered more
aircraft to boost capacity and passenger appeal. In order to bridge the gap
between orders and deliveries, Indian carriers such as Air India and Jet
Airways have resorted to leasing aircraft for immediate expansion. This
takes place against the backdrop of an increasingly liberal Indian aviation
policy. Far from being bipolar, Asia’s aviation growth is germinating from
every single sub region. (TTG)
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