Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tran Dinh Ba, a businessman in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, said Tuesday he changed the terms of the bet proposal initially made earlier this month after the Vietnam Civil Aviation Administration (VCAA) deputy head Lai Xuan Thanh said state-run agencies like VCAA were not allowed to gamble.
Ba said just wants to prove his point, not take money from the administration.
If the VCAA accepted the new bet, Ba said the agency would only have to admit its mistake if it lost.
But he also said he was still prepared to fork over the dough if the organization wins the bet.
“This is a scientific wager, not gambling,” said Ba in the revised bet suggestion.
On May 11, the VCAA said in a report to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that direct flights from the capital to HCMC would be reduced to 1,058 kilometers from 1,200 kilometers under a straighter air route announced to the media by former airline pilot Mai Trong Tuan in April.
The administration said the new route would also cut travel time by nine minutes, but it argued against the plan because each flight would cost the airline $364 extra to use neighboring countries’ airspace.
The route was “neither technically reasonable nor economically efficient,” according to the VCAA.
However, Ba said Tuan’s idea to fly straight over Laos and Cambodia, instead of veering east over the East Sea, would be 20 percent more efficient than the VCAA had estimated.
Indeed, Tuan had already said that the flights from Hanoi to HCMC could be decreased to 1,000 kilometers while flight time would also drop to only 80 minutes from 105 minutes, adding that the new route could also save one fifth of the 25,000 liters of gasoline now used per flight. He also estimated ticket prices could be 16 percent cheaper.
In a note sent to VCAA earlier this month, Ba bet the agency that its figures were incorrect.
The original bet was that if VCAA’s calculations underestimated the efficiency of the new route by 20 percent or more, it would have to pay Ba $5 million.
However, if Ba was wrong and VCAA could prove that its calculations were within a 5 percent margin of the exact figures, he would have to dole out the sum to the agency from his own pocket.
Domestic airlines provide 50 daily flights between the two hubs.
Reported by Hoang Ly
Monday, August 24, 2009
Phnom Penh - Cambodia has received a letter of apology from the commander of a Thai airbase apologizing for a series of Thai air force flights that crossed into Cambodian territory in the past week, local media reported.
A Cambodian general told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that the commander of Thailand's Chantaburi-Trat airbase, whom he did not name, had written that the incidents were due to bad weather affecting the navigation systems of the aircraft.
"We accepted the letter of apology by the Thai military but we have warned Thailand's airbase that we will not take responsibility for a second repeated airspace violation," General Bun Seng said .
The general said incursions usually took place over disputed areas on the border between the two nations, but said this time Thai aircraft had flown 30 kilometres inside Cambodia.
"This is the first time they have flown so far into Cambodian territory," he said.
A spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government accepted the apology, but warned that subsequent incursions would "be dangerous."
Cambodia and Thailand have a longstanding dispute over their 804-kilometre common border.
In the past year several Cambodian and Thai soldiers have been killed and injured in skirmishes around Preah Vihear temple on the border in the north of Cambodia.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Turkish Airlines yesterday announced its "Great Surprises" promotion for the month of September. Round trips from Istanbul to Casablanca, Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, Amman, Nice, Berlin, Beirut, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Chisinau, Gothenburg and Hanover will be priced from ค111 (Bt5,400), excluding taxes, for economy class and ค333 for business class.
Long-range flights will also be included in the campaign, with round trips from Istanbul to Lagos, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and New York priced from ค333, excluding taxes.
Jetstar Asia CEO Chong Phit Lian yesterday introduced its new promotion in Thailand as part its expansion. Passengers with only carry-on luggage can fly one way from Phuket to Singapore for Bt299 net for travel during certain periods next year. This offer ends at noon today, or when seats are sold out.
Jetstar will operate two flights a day between Singapore and Phuket from December 15. Starting late next month, it will increase its frequency between Bangkok and Singapore from two flights a day to three.
AirAsia recently announced a new service between Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi on subsidiary AirAsia X to begin on November 23.
The airline is now offering an attractive all-inclusive price of Bt1,020 one way, available exclusively online via its website until next Wednesday for travel between November 23 and next July 31.
Thai Airways International recently launched a new Royal Orchid Holidays "Historic Legendary Mosques in Bangkok" package. To promote the package, the airline flew in Pakistani reporters to visit the Bang Luang, Ton Son and Charoen Pasana mosques in Bangkok.
The promotion is aimed at attracting Muslim passengers during this low season.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Perth Airport is looking forward to welcoming the launch of Pacific Blue Airlines flights Phuket this winter.
The airline will introduce the direct, twice-weekly service to the sought-after Thai resort on November 14th.
Flights will depart on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10:35 (local time), while incoming flights will arrive on Wednesdays and Sundays at 21:35 (local time).
It is expected that the flights will prove popular as a result of increased demand among western Australians for cheaper and convenient travel options to Thailand.
Commenting on the route, Perth Airport chief executive officer Brad Geatches said: "The introduction of Pacific Blue's new service to Phuket will be perfect for those looking to escape to south-east Asia.
"This service offers more travel options to western Australians and highlights the popularity of this region."
Pacific Blue Airlines is part of the Virgin Blue Group, which recently increased its presence in Asia with the introduction of daily flights to Bali.
From October 2nd, cheap flights carrier Jetstar Airways will launch daily flights to Sydney from the Perth.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Airports of Thailand (AoT), operator of the country’s major international airports, reported a 6.3% year-on-year reduction in passenger numbers in Jul-2009, but passenger numbers had already started falling in the same month last year (by 1.3%), meaning the decreases are now compounding.
On the surface, AoT’s premier airport, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, appears to be holding up, with total volumes down just 1.4% last month, but the figure reflects the transfer of domestic volumes from Don Muaeng Airport. Domestic passenger numbers rose 51.5%, while international traffic at Suvarnabhumi was down 12.9% last month (following a 1% increase last July).
AoT’s combined cargo traffic entered negative territory in Aug-2008, and it looks likely that decreases could also start to compound when traffic figures for Aug-2009 are released.
AoT total passenger number growth and cargo volume growth: Aug-08 to Jul-09
Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & AoT
Overall domestic passenger volumes at AoT airports are back into positive territory, rising 5.9% in Aug-2009, erasing all of the previous year’s fall. But even bigger reductions were recorded in subsequent months last year, while could make for quite spectacular increases in coming months. The reality is, growth could be little changed from 2007 levels.
AoT domestic, international and total passenger number growth: Aug-08 to Jul-09
Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & AoT
Phuket, Chiang Mai/Rai performing better than Bangkok
Traffic at the two Bangkok airports was down a combined 9%+ last month, whereas Phuket was down just 3.1%. Chiang Rai Airport has recovered last year’s fall, while Chiang Mai came close to doing likewise.
Airports of Thailand traffic Jul-2009 vs Jul-2008 (% change year-on-year)
% Change Jul-2008
% Change Jul-2009
Total AoT pax
- Don Mueang
- Chiang Mai
- Hat Yai
- Chiang Rai
Total AoT cargo volume (tonnes)
Source: Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation & AoT
Outlook: Challenging times ahead for Bangkok
V Australia’s announcement to launch direct services to Phuket from Melbourne and Brisbane later this year could reflect a growing trend of airlines (and passengers) wishing to avoid the Bangkok hub. Thai Airways’ financial troubles, relative to its Asia Pacific and Middle East peers are also expected to weaken the Bangkok hub’s outlook.
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