Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 Police Officers Killed In Indonesia Plane Crash

(RTTNews) - Five Indonesian police officers on a mission to help flood victims were killed when their plane crashed during an emergency landing in bad weather in Papua province on Wednesday, police said.

A National Police spokesman said the aircraft was on its way to Ambon city en route to the capital Jakarta when it crashed in Nabire district of Papua province. Three bodies were recovered and rescuers were still searching for the remaining two, he added.

The light cargo plane is reported to have crashed after delivering supplies to flood victims in Wasior in Indonesia's Papua region where more than 150 people died in floods this month.

In the last mishap in April, about 100 people on board an Indonesian airliner had a miraculous escape when the plane skidded off the runway and plunged into a river near an airport in Indonesia's Papua province, injuring 20 people.

Comprising 17,508 islands, the vast archipelago of Indonesia relies heavily on air transport due to limited road networks but has one of Asia's worst air safety records.

Acting on a report from the International Civil Aviation Organization which criticized the country's safety standards, the European Union banned all Indonesia-registered aircraft from flying over its airspace in June 2007.

by RTT Staff Writer

Two mile long runway opens at Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic's first generation of commercial space vehicles now have somewhere to land with the completion of the runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The 42-inch thick, almost two mile long "spaceway" was dedicated in a ceremony attended by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Buzz Aldrin, Sir Richard Branson and around 30 soon-to-be space tourists who have signed up as Virgin Galactic's first customers. Read More

Images from Phnom Penh Airport.

Fly to Cambodia with Cambodia Angkor Air!


Suvarnabhumi further cracks smiles

"Suvarnabhumi Airport", with the goal to improve its ranking in the Skytrax World's Top Ten Airports list for 2010, has developed a comprehensive series of 'service improvement strategies' in order to achieve an even higher level of satisfaction from passengers worldwide.

The airport has launched the "Airport of Smiles" campaign in an effort to "spread the smiles" throughout the entire world-class facility.

Suvarnabhumi attained the 3rd place ranking in the readers' poll of World Airports, and was ranked as the World's 10th Best Airport in the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards for 2010. On the Airport Council International's (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme, it is ranked the 24th in 2009, from 41st in 2007.

Flying Officer Anirut Thanomkulbutra, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, said the campaign is to make the airport well known around the world as a place of smiles and hospitality where gracious and polite greetings and traditional Thai services are offered to passengers.

""Airport of Smiles" is a campaign to encourage our officers and related personnel working in the airport to provide their services with warm and sincere smiles to further improve passenger satisfaction. Suvarnabhumi Airport has a special responsibility to provide a positive initial impression of the Kingdom since we are the gateway to Thailand for millions of passengers worldwide. Before launching this important campaign, Suvarnabhumi Airport arranged workshops for more than 2,000 of our staff and related agencies to raise their awareness of the best practices in passenger service enhancement."

A new advertising campaign was launched, related to the fresh image of Suvarnabhumi as the "Airport of Smiles". These advertisements will be launched in November 2010 through local and international print media.

Anirut also emphasised that to achieve the goal, the airport needs cooperation from crucial organisations such as the Immigration Bureau, the Customs Department, airlines, outsource service providers, and King Power. The airport itself will improve services and facilities. All informational signage throughout the Airport will be presented in a new format with new theme colors in three languages: Thai, English, and Chinese. It will also increase the volume of recreational space across the airport in order to enhance passengers' overall experience and enjoyment of the facility. The airport is also installing a CUSS system, which is an automatic check-in service which makes it easy for travelers to print their boarding passes by themselves.

THAI's Q3 profits plunge 90%

Thai Airways International would have shown huge profits in the third quarter without the huge foreign-exchange losses of Bt2.8 billion, DBS Vickers Securities (Thailand) said yesterday.

The securities house expects THAI's net profit to plunge 90 per cent from the previous quarter to Bt154 million due to the forex losses plus a Bt445 million write-off of spare parts and inventory. Though net profit was down, it was a strong turnaround from the Bt4-billion net loss in the same quarter last year.

In the third quarter, THAI's passenger cabin factor continued to improve to 74.7 per cent from 73.9 per cent in the third quarter and 64.7 per cent in the second quarter. It boosted its yield to Bt2 per kilometre from Bt1.9/km in the same quarter last year. The freight factor rose, while operating expenses remained under control.

Fourth-quarter results are expected to be better, as tourism enters the high season. During the first 10 days of this month, the cabin factor remained robust at 74 per cent, up from 73 per cent a month ago, while bookings for November 10 are already at 65 per cent. The yield also improved to Bt2.1/km from Bt1.98/km on September 10, and should continue to rise as special offers and promotions offered during the low season would be phased out.

"The small third-quarter net earnings might disappoint the market, but core earnings are a big improvement. We remain optimistic about THAI, as the turnaround is both external (rising travel demand from easing political tensions and improving economy) and internal (restructured operations)," it said.

DBS projects the airline's share price rising to Bt47.25. The stock closed yesterday at Bt45.50. While reporting that global international passenger traffic showed a 10.5-per-cent year-on-year increase last month, the International Air Transport Asso-ciation said Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 8.6-per-cent traffic increase over the previous September against a capacity increase of 6.9 per cent.

While the region led the recovery with an early surge in demand, growth this year has been largely flat. Traffic in the region remains 2 per cent below the pre-crisis peak of early 2008.

Tisco Securities expects THAI to report quarterly operating net profit of Bt3.54 billion, which marks a sharp improvement from the operating net loss of Bt1.25 billion in the same quarter last year. Its operating net profit is expected to be the highest among listed transport companies.

In the transport sector, Regional Container Lines is expected to turn in a quarterly net profit of Bt80 million, compared to a Bt681 million net loss in the same quarter last year. BTS Holdings Group should swing back to a net profit of Bt155 million against a Bt150 million net loss, and Airports of Thailand should report a profit of Bt158 million against a Bt4 million loss. Bangkok Expressway's net profit is expected to advance slightly.

America’s Meanest Airline: Delta

From Yahoo Travel:

Based on the Airline Quality Rating (AQR) Report, which covers 18 domestic carriers, here is a list of the airlines that could stand to do the most work on making their customers happy. The report’s conclusions are based on surveys of airline industry experts, with positive and negative values assigned to different elements in airline quality.


Worst Major Airlines

5. US Airways
2009 AQR Score: -1.19

Rudest flight attendants, worst food, below-average score in the J.D. Power 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Study.

Domestic Baggage Fees:

1st Bag: $25
2nd Bag: $35 3rd Bag: $100
Overweight Bags: $50 Extra (51 – 70 lbs) $100 Extra (71 – 100 lbs)
Oversized Bags: $100 Extra (larger than 62″)


4. American Airlines
2009 AQR Score: -1.25

This year AA has had frequent incidents of mishandled baggage with an average of 4.07 reports per 1,000 passengers, according to the Air Travel Consumer Reports (this is the worst rating among the major airlines in the study). SeatGuru’s survey named American Airlines as one of the three airlines that have the rudest flight attendants and the worst food.

Domestic Baggage Fees:

1st Bag: $25
2nd Bag: $35
3rd Bag: $100
Overweight Bags: $50 (51 – 70 lbs) $100 (71 – 100 lbs)
Oversized Bags: $150 (larger than 62″)


3. Alaska Airlines
2009 AQR Score: -1.39

High number of mishandled baggage reports. However, Alaska Airlines did a stellar job when it came to delays, with 88 percent of its flights having on-time arrivals (in the 12-month period ending August 2010).

Domestic Baggage Fees:

1st Bag: $20
2nd Bag: $20
3rd Bag: $20
Overweight Bags: $50 (51 – 100 lbs)
Oversized Bags: $50 (63 – 80″) $75 (81 – 115″)


2. United Airlines
2009 AQR Score: -1.43

United received a score of “about average” in the J.D. Power 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Study but it placed last in passenger satisfaction in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. According to the SeatGuru survey, United joins American Airlines and US Airways as one of the three worst airlines for meals and rude flight attendants. Ranked second in consumer complaints.

Domestic Baggage Fees:

1st Bag: $25
2nd Bag: $35
3rd Bag: $100
Overweight Bags: $100 (51 – 100 lbs)
Oversized Bags: $100 (larger than 62″)


1. Delta
2009 AQR Score: -1.73

Delta had the worst AQR among major airlines with a -1.73, and a couple of its regional airlines did even worse (see Comair and Atlantic Southeast below). It also had the largest drop in passenger satisfaction in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. According to the Air Travel Consumer Reports, Delta was number one in delays for major airlines (78 percent of flights arriving on time in the 12-month period ending August 2010) and first in consumer complaints (averaging 2.23 per 100,000 enplanements in 2010). Also, make sure to note Delta’s baggage fees below, as they can get quite painful for those hauling heavy and/or large cargo.

Domestic Baggage Fees:

1st Bag: $25 ($23 if checked online)
2nd Bag: $35 ($32 if checked online)
3rd Bag: $125
Overweight Bags: $90 (51 – 70 lbs) $175 (71 – 100 lbs)
Oversized Bags: $175 (larger than 63 – 80″) $300 (larger than 81 – 115″)


America’s Meanest Airlines
Hamooda Shami
Yahoo Travel

Assam linked with Bhutan, Thailand by flights

Guwahati, Oct 26 (IANS) The Guwahati airport will soon go international with Bhutan's Druk Air Tuesday announcing bi-weekly flights connecting the Himalayan kingdom and Thailand to Assam.

Beginning Oct 31, Druk Air would operate flights between Paro in Bhutan and Guwahati and between Bangkok and Guwahati.

'The services will surely help in connectivity and take our age old ties to newer heights,' Druk Air chairman Kesang Wangdi told IANS.

According to the schedule, Guwahati and Paro will be linked on Mondays and Thursdays and Guwahati and Bangkok on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Return flights from Paro to Guwahati would be available on Wednesdays and Sundays, while Bangkok to Guwahati flights would be on Mondays and Thursdays.

The promotional fare for Guwahati Paro is just Rs.3,000 while Guwahati Bangkok direct flight is Rs.6,000.

However, regular economy class fare would be Rs.5,000 Guwahati-Paro and Rs.8,500 for Guwahati-Bangkok.

The 100-seater airbus would take just 50 minutes from Guwahati to Paro while the Guwahati-Bangkok distance would be covered in about three hours.

Druk Air is hopeful of attracting passengers, mostly tourists and businesspeople, to the Himalayan kingdom, besides visitors to Assam as well.

Cambodia: Air France: New Service To Phnom Penh Starting 27 March 2011

Starting 27 March 2011, Air France will begin operating a new service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle andPhnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. Flight bookings and ticket sales are now open.The three weekly flights between Paris and Phnom Penh, with a stopover in Bangkok, will be operated by Airbus A340-300 equipped with 275 seats (30 in Business, 21 in Premium Voyageur and 224 in Voyageur-Economy), and subsequently during summer 2011 by Boeing 777-200 equipped with 309 seats (35 in Business, 24 in Premium Voyageur and 250 in Voyageur-Economy).

Flight times allow customers to benefit from convenient connecting opportunities to and from destinations worldwide at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The battle between AirAsia and Tiger Airways

The verbal spat between the two Tonys in the aviation sector reminds some people of how Lim Keng Yaik had to fight for the survival of palm oil back in the 1980s.

Then it was Lim against the Western world, and at stake was Malaysia's palm oil industry.

Lim succeeded and today Malaysia is one of the biggest suppliers of palm oil globally.

Last week the clash was between Tony and Tony - Fernandes, the boss of AirAsia; and Tony Davis, CEO of Singapore's Tiger Airways.

Both helm award-wining airlines.

AirAsia has won numerous awards and so has Fernandes. The airline has a wide reach, has operations in Thailand via Thai AirAsia and in Indonesia via Indonesia AirAsia. Its sister air?line, AirAsia X, is Asia's first long-haul low-cost carrier.

Tiger Airways is partly owned by Singapore Airlines. Based in Singapore, it flies to many destinations within Asia. Last Tuesday it was named the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation's Low Cost Airline of the Year. Tiger Airways also has operations in Australia. It is about to seal a deal to set up Thai Tiger Airways, a low-cost airline in Thailand.

The new venture is the thing that triggered the spat.

Fernandes described Tiger Airways as an "odd" choice busi?ness ally to Thai Airways. He said this in an interview with the Bangkok Post. He was scep?tical about having Westerners running any successful Asia-based business, referring to some of Tiger Airways' man?agement.

"We're Asians, not a bunch of white guys running the airline," he said, explaining that Thai AirAsia was run by Thai man?agement who know the local and Asian markets. Tiger Airways had also recently can?celled numerous flights that left thousands of passengers stranded due to manpower shortage and aircraft fault.

Tiger Airways in an imme?diate reaction said it was a "racist remark" made by Fernandes.

To rub salt into the wound, Fernandes also described Tiger Airways as "a tiny carrier".

But Davis seemed unper?turbed and he declared on Wednesday that Tiger aims to be among the top three global airlines.

This spat stems from com?petition. A new player in the Thai air market would mean more competition for Thai AirAsia.

To tease Tiger Airway for its recent flight cancellations, AirAsia ran full-page adver?tisements in Singapore news?papers with the tag line: "If Tigers were meant to fly, they would be born with wings". The ads also featured a drawing of a tiger cub crying.

But AirAsia regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan denies the ads had anything to do with Thai Tiger.

"We thought it's a great time to do things that are a little bit fun; a little bit wicked. It's not meant as a one-up, we're not attacking anyone, we were just being clever and witty to assert our marketing leadership. We love a good fight on the mar?keting front once in a while," she said.

Whatever the campaign may be for, it did not stop Davis from saying, "It's no wonder some of our competitors are getting so rattled".

Thailand is a big tourism market. People from all over the world visit Bangkok and many other tourist destinations there so adding another player would keep the incumbents on their toes. Erosion of market share is to be expected.

Fernandes understands that and there is also nothing to stop Davis from entering the market since Thai Airways likes Tiger Airways.

These two Tonys may be tak?ing a swipe at each other and coming up with all kinds of tac?tics to discredit each other but for the consumer, competition is great. Had AirAsia not set up operations in Malaysia we would probably still be paying premium airfares to travel and in the same vein, more budget airlines in Asia simply means even more people can fly.

Whatever the motivation of these rivals, what matters to the traveller is safety, good service, low airfares, more baggage room and comfort. The fiercer the fight, hopefully, the lower the airfares.

Cambodian Aviation News

WHEN Société Concessionaire des Aéroports, the French company that runs Cambodia’s airports, announces its new calendar for the high season on Wednesday, expect additional flights and new routes that should help expand the industry.

But although international connections are set to rise and diversify, domestic flights remain as limited as ever.

Air France will feature at the end of the new November-March after announcing connecting flights from Europe to Phnom Penh due to begin on March 27.

In addition, Air Berlin is set to start a code-share deal with Bangkok Airways to the Cambodian capital and, from November 1, will offer online bookings on this new service with connections through Bangkok to major European cities.

From next month, Bangkok Airways will also start one additional morning flight between the Thai capital and Phnom Penh, all of which is hugely encouraging in terms of getting international travellers to Cambodia.

But what about Sihanoukville, and, indeed, competition on the Siem Reap-Phnom Penh route, both key problem areas for the industry?

Although SCA has been negotiating for some time with various airlines to fly to three newly renovated Sihanoukville airport, it is not expected to announce scheduled flights to Cambodia’s leading beach resort for the next high season, providing a major disappointment for the industry unless the new national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air agrees to fly there.

It certainly should do so.

Sihanoukville will only develop as a tourist destination if the new airport takes off, so surely CAA – as the new national carrier – has to take the initiative to become the first to fly there.

This could start a cycle that would hopefully lead more tourists to visit Sihanoukville, and then more airlines to take a leap of faith as the resort developed.

Sihanoukville last year recorded a 66 percent rise in the number of international tourists arriving by boat.

This is a sign that government efforts to raise the port’s profile as a cruise destination is starting to pay off.

But outbound tourism from the port fell to zero last year, and overall numbers to Sihanoukville declined – 6.6 percent fewer international tourists visited in 2009 despite a 1.7 percent rise in total arrivals to Cambodia.

Clearly Sihanoukville is in desperate need of those flight connections.

Sihanoukville airport could also serve as a gateway to nearby Kep and Kampot – which are located only about two hours away by road – as both are soaring in popularity.

Kep attracted more than double the number of international tourists last year compared to 2008, and arrivals in Kampot were up 32 percent, according to government data.

Why isn’t CAA supporting these newly emerging destinations, especially given that Cambodia’s new flag carrier is understood to be partly government-run?

The surging prices on CAA’s route from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh amid nonexistent carrier competition is equally debilitating for Cambodian tourism.

Whereas the new airline offered special promotion fares between Cambodia’s two biggest tourism destinations after launching in July last year, now a round trip for foreigners usually costs more than US$200 when airport tax is factored in.

That route across the Kingdom must rank as one of the most expensive internal flights in the region per kilometre.

Given that government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, have repeatedly talked up CAA’s financial performance since it launched
its maiden flight last year, the lack of risk and high prices employed by the new airline appear to be a serious miscalculation.

Bringing tourists to Cambodia is one thing, but persuading them to stay for longer periods and see more of the country is another, equally important, part of developing the tourism industry.

That means more could, and should, be done.

Phuket to Bali Flights

An eagerly awaited announcement is rumoured to be due next week from Air Asia concerning direct Phuket to Bali flights. The link between the Phuket and Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport is thought to commence in December 2010.

The introduction of this route will open up the option to holidaymakers of having multi-centre holidays in the 2 premium destination resorts. The flights are particularly aimed towards Australians who currently dominate the Bali tourism market.

Air Asia has already designated Phuket as one of their hub airports with daily flights to international destinations including Hong Kong.

The service is awaiting documentation approval by Indonesia's aviation department, according to Santisuk Klongchaiya, Thai Airasia Commercial Director: "We do not know if we have the green light yet, but systems are in place to begin a service as early as this December to catch high season traffic demand over Christmas and New Year."

Click here for between Phuket to Bali flight schedules.

Thai aviation training center to spread its wings


By Wannapa Khaopa
The Nation
Hua Hin

Posted Image

Hua Hin - CATC may offer special courses in neighbouring countries to help train personnel

Thailand's Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC) has been an accepted specialist training centre in this region for years. Being certified by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and providing hightech aviation equipment, lots of foreign students have chosen to study here.

However, the centre is looking beyond to spread its reputation to lure more foreign students at a time when more skilled personnel are needed to drive expansion of the aviation business in many countries.

Varintorn Liamnak, director of the centre's aviation business research and development division, said it has taught students from 78 countries in the 49 years since the centre was established back in 1961.

"Students have come - for example, from Germany, Yemen, Egypt, Bhutan, Mongolia, China, Korea and Vietnam," he said.

"We're leading trainers for aircraft personnel. We have digital aircraft, while others still use analog aircraft. We have more hightech equipment, compared to our neighbouring countries," said Air Chief Marshal Paiboon Chanhom, chairman of the CATC's board of directors.

"We've been a centre of excellence in Asia for years. Our centre is the only place in Asia that teaches a Science programme Bachelor's degree in avionics. And we produce engineers who can repair avionics equipment," Varintorn said. "We are the leader in safety, security and human factors of aviation."

All teachers at the centre are Thai. Most - 90 per cent of them - are from the Royal Thai Air Force. Each flight instructor has flown an average of 10,000 flight hours.

Varintorn said the centre had produced quality students who later became directorgenerals of departments of civil aviation in Laos, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The CATC is set to launch roadshows in China and Bhutan, and plans to offer more courses for students from Vietnam and Laos. It is also looking to "introduce" itself to India.

Varintorn said the aviation sector had expanded in Vietnam. The government in Hanoi supported Noi Bai International Airport but needed more aviation personnel, so it had sent students to study at CATC.

This year, the majority of foreign students are 100 Mongolians studying air traffic control and about 90 Vietnamese students doing different ground training programmes.

"With limited infrastructure, we can only boost the number of foreign students in the classroom a little as the current number of CATC students is near full capacity," Varintorn said.

"So, we are looking to create courses on request for other countries, and later send our teachers to teach tailormade courses in those countries. There is no problem with quality because we have course developers certified by ICAO who can develop such courses.

"We want more local and international students to recognise us. So, we will be able to recruit more topclass and quality students, too," she said.

CATC's second flight training center in Khon Kaen can support more foreign students looking to be pilots.

More than 40 programmes for a Bachelor's degree, certificate or basic courses and short courses are available there. Overall, CATC has close to 3,000 students.

Yu Ge or Dodo, who graduated with a commercial pilot licence from the centre last month, said: "CATC's got the high technology. I always focus on quality instructors here. CATC has the best of the best instructors from the Royal Air Force and Thai Airways International. We have good, patient, friendly and knowledgeable teachers. The environment in Hua Hin is pretty good.

"Under the ICAO standard, an aviation training centre should offer a percentage of flights over water, mountains and mainland. And we have the different conditions here day by day."

Dodo, who has been recruited for Shenzhen Air in China, said: "Another factor is that living costs in Thailand is much cheaper than overseas but the standard is the same or even higher.

"CATC is the most famous [aviation centre] in Southeast Asia. Its reputation is very well known. It made me very disciplined, more mature and gave me more seniority than before. My level of responsibility is greater.

"For people interested in being a commercial pilot, you have to prepare yourself well, have a good attitude, and make sure you are a person who learns about life," he said.

Recently, CATC welcomed members of the Thai press and others from Vietnam and China to fly with its student pilots in small planes to enjoy the magnificent views of Hua Hin, and learn how they study and are taught.

The good news for young people who dream of becoming a commercial pilot or doing other aviation jobs is CATC offers an opportunity for them to be a passenger in their small planes to witness how a pilot controls the plane and experience two hours flying a flight simulator. Also, they can do an introductory course on aviation.

A threeyear project will open again for applicants in December. People interested in being students with a passion for an aviation job can submit an essay, telling about their dream and passion for aviation jobs to win an great learning opportunity and join the course free of charge.

Other youths who can't win the essay competition can benefit from a special promotion. They can pay Bt4,000 each - instead of the normal rate of Bt8,500 or Bt10,000 - to learn the same.

For people interested in studying aviation related fields, CATC will join the Thailand International Education Expo 2010 to promote its training programmes. The expo will be held at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, from November 1921.

-- The Nation 2010-10-25

Monday, October 25, 2010

When flights don't add up

A key element in establishing a successful, major international tourism destination such as Siem Reap is to make it easy to get to. But this is something that aviation authorities in the Kingdom seem to have overlooked.

Travellers have long complained about the expensive costs of flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and especially from Phnom Penh to Temple Town.

This week a Bangkok reader, a seasoned traveller, vented his frustration in a series of emails to 7Days.

In his opening salvo he claimed, “A Bangkok Airways ticket is priced at US$370 for BKK-SR-BKK, which is less than a one-hour flight either way. I can fly to Japan for that.”

Our man then figured he could fly direct from BKK to Phnom Penh but queried, “Why is Bangkok Airways one way from BKK to SR $154 but to PP it’s only $100, and PP is further away?”

He then discovered that a one-way ticket from PP to SR would cost $85 and if he booked the entire trip using one-way hops it would cost, surprise, surprise, $370.

Back to the drawing board.

He decided to try Air Asia but discovered that airline only flew to Phnom Penh for a return rate of $132 and then he was faced with a $170 return flight from PP to SR. Damn!

He then decided to try the national carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air. Its price was better – $275 for the round trip.

But (and there’s always a but) he reported, “If you go to the Royal AA site and try to book a flight you are directed to the Vietnam Airways site, and if you go to the latter they are only set up to handle domestic VN flights so you can't book a BKK-SR flight. It's madness.”

Last heard of, our reader was still in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh Post Siem Reap bureau investigative team surged into action. Calls to Bangkok Airways elicited a confusing range of prices, and it seems these prices vary considerably depending on the “lateness” of the booking, without lateness being defined.

But then the Post was able to get a computer printout of the full range of fares, to discover that there were five basic price points for a SR-BKK-SR return flight. The cheapest of these was $271.40, and the most expensive was $381.40.

But the price list for the PP-BKK-PP round trip was even more bewildering.

There were 11 different prices ranging from $230.40 to a massive $1002.40, presumably for a first-class ticket.

The Post Siem Reap bureau is not sure how our informant in Bangkok came up with a $100 one-way fee from BKK to PP. We were able to get the same costs of a one-way SR-BKK ticket as our Bangkok man, at $154, but we couldn’t come close to his $100 one-way fare from Bangkok to Phnom Penh. The cheapest we could get, out of eight price ranges, was $187.40 (with the dearest being $606.40.) This was despite being assured that it was cheaper to book flights in Cambodia than in Bangkok.

Finally, we checked with Cambodia Angkor Air. While our man in Bangkok was quoted $275 for the return trip, we were given a costing of $271.

But when we checked the next day we were quoted $268. The person answering the phone said she could offer this new price because she knew the Siem Reap bureau chief and could therefore book a “Class N” ticket, whatever that may be.

Paris airport: 24 injured on Vietnam Airlines flight

PARIS, October 20, 2010 (AFP) - A Vietnam Airlines flight to Paris lurched violently in flight on Wednesday, causing 24 of those on board to suffer injuries ranging from bruises to broken bones, French authorities said.

"It might have been some kind of air pocket," a Paris airport official said, while authorities said the exact nature of the turbulence and the cause of the injuries had yet to be determined.

"It could have been turbulence," another airport employee said, speaking on condition of anonymity while investigations were ongoing.

Eight of those on board were taken to the Robert Ballanger hospital in the northern suburbs of Paris, while others were treated by fire crews before being brought to the airport's clinic to be examined.

Of those hurt, 22 were passengers and two were crew members.

Vietnam Airlines was not immediately available for comment.

More Scheduled Flights to Phuket

More good news for international travel to and from Phuket with 2 new international routes through Phuket being announced.

Qatar Airways has launched its 2nd destination in Thailand with scheduled flights to Phuket to Doha. The new route forms part of a concerted push by the airline to capitalise on tourist traffic to the island.

Qatar Airways also announced that it would increase daily flights from Doha to Bangkok from twice daily, to three times a day, effective from November 1.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways commented: "Visitor numbers to Phuket are on the rise and Qatar Airways will look to take advantage of our European connections from countries like Russia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the UK and other parts of Europe to bring them to Phuket. Foreign visitors are expected to top 4.5 million in 2010 and with only a handful of airlines offering flights from Europe, the opportunity is there for us to acquire market share,"

The route will cut hours out of journey times to and from the Middle East and Europe by omitting the Bangkok leg of the route.

Meanwhile, Aeroflot is to start a direct Phuket from Moscow route three times a week from December 29 using their Airbus A330s.

AirAsia offers new flights to Bangkok

Starting in December, AirAsia is to offer daily flights from Bangkok to Kolkata as the route increases in popularity.

The airline has also suggested that the frequency of the flights between Thailand's capital and the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal could double in around six to eight months.

A number of other carriers, including Thai Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways and Air India Express already operate on the same route and experts are predicting this could lead to a fall in fares as competition increases.

Times of India reports AirAsia's chief executive officer Tassapon Bijleved said: "There will be 25-30 low-fare campaigns a year.

"In some of them, a million tickets will be doled out free as part of the endeavour to enable every individual to fly."

In August, the airline set a new world record by selling 538,000 seats in 24 hours as part of a special promotion.

Written by Alex Cochrane. ADNFCR-1809-ID-800136450-ADNFCR

Myanmar Airways hopes polls will boost tourism


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Struggling flag carrier Myanmar Airways International is hopeful that next month's elections will usher in a new era of growth for the country's tourism sector, a senior executive said Friday.

"We are hoping that after the elections, the country will be opened up and we believe there will be more tourists coming in," Ye Jhan, the airline's assistant general manager, said at an aviation forum in Singapore.

"Once we have a new government and new policies, there will be (a) big increase in tourist arrivals... because the country has a lot of opportunities to develop tourism," he said.

The November 7 election is the country's first in 20 years but it has come under strong criticism from Western governments and human rights campaigners who say it is a sham meant to entrench the military's grip on power.

But Jhan told AFP on the sidelines of the forum that he was confident the new government will encourage tourism "because tourism revenues are quite good for us."

Jhan said more than 201,000 tourists had visited the country so far this year, compared with more than 227,000 tourists for all of 2009.

He said Myanmar Airways, like other enterprises in the country, had suffered because of international sanctions imposed mostly by Western governments.

Unlike other airlines in Asia, the flag carrier has to make do with limited resources, Jhan told delegates at Aviation Outlook Asia.

The airline is "barely managing to keep our heads above the water," he said.

"We are still struggling and we need significant improvements in our capital funding... We are running our business with less than 20 million dollars only."

This is considerably less than other airlines that easily have at least five times that amount, Jhan said.

"To be a reputable international airline, that's our new vision," said Jhan. "We hope we can develop ourselves within a few years with the support from the political situation... When (the) new government comes, I think we will have support from other countries."

Jhan said the airline was 20 percent state-owned.

100 million passengers for Air Asia

Oct 23, 2010

It took eight and a half years for AirAsia, which started humbly with just two aircraft and 200 staff, to become the continents's largest low-cost carrier (LCC) by breaking the 100-million-passenger mark recently.

And the time it will take to reach 200 million will be even shorter. Group chief executive Tony Fernandes reckons that will happen in 2013, which would allow the airline to become Asia's largest among all carriers in terms of passenger numbers.

Thus, the Malaysia-based budget airline, along with its sister carriers in Thailand and Indonesia, will be working hard to book 50 million passengers annually from 30 million a year now.

"With 30 million [passengers], we are about the fifth largest [overall] in Asia, and if we could get 50 million passengers a year, we will be the largest," he told the Bangkok Post.

AirAsia's current annual passenger records are already well above those of leading carriers in the region. For instance, International Air Transport Association statistics show full-service airlines Cathay Pacific carried 18.1 million passengers last year, Thai Airways International 17.9 million, Singapore Airlines 16.3 million and Malaysia Airlines 11.9 million.

The AirAsia group has grown exponentially, much to the concern of legacy airlines in the region, with a fleet of 96 aircraft connecting 22 countries with 139 routes and 8,000 staff.

Looking forward, AirAsia, which wrote a new chapter in aviation history by liberalising air travel with low fares, will continue to expand in mainstream Asia, while Mr Fernandes brushed aside speculation the airline would set up units and grow in other regions.

"That's not my plan, because there is so much growth here already. I've always said grow in your country first, and then expand in your region and then the greater region," said Mr Fernandes.

"So let's focus on our own countries [first] - Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Asean and Greater Asia. There are 3 billion people in this region."

AirAsia has received many proposals to set up LCCs in Europe, the West Indies, Australia and Africa.

"But you know, there is only one me. We've got to deliver what we can first [in this region]," said Mr Fernandes.

The airline's growth will try to to connect much of Asia with its flights over the next few years, he said.

Asked about AirAsia's future aspirations, Mr Fernandes said: "Very clear. To be the world's best LCC, to be as good as the economy service of any full-service airline. Second, to be the best company to work for and third to become the largest airline in Asia in terms of passenger numbers and profitability."

Regarding the emergence of new LCCs in the region, Mr Fernandes said: "Competition will come. Competition is good, the market is big enough, but we'll deal with it in our normal way. Every time a new airline comes on, we're much bigger than we were. We dealt with competition when we had only 20 planes; now we have [nearly] 100 planes. So we look forward to it."

Kathleen Tan, regional head of commercial operations, commented: "You are aware of your competitors, but you don't let them bother you. You just do what you are good at and focus."

Meanwhile, Mr Fernandes, now 46, indicated he was pondering retirement, but "not any time soon. I think good leadership is knowing when to go. Leaders, whether in politics or corporations, must be renewed."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Remains of Thai Air Force F-16 Pilot Found at Tak Crash Site

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The body of a Royal Thai Air Force pilot has been found in the wreckage of an F-16 fighter jet which went down in the rural northern province of Tak on Monday.

Thailand, the 19th of October 2010: The jet, an RTAF F-16 went down earlier on Monday morning after having left the Nakhon Sawan Air Force Base on a scheduled training mission.

Piloted by Flight Lieutenant Thanikorn Luangrungwaree [31], whose body has since been found in the wreckage, the plane went down during bad weather in Den Mai Sung village, Ban Tak, Tak province. Shortly before the accident, the plane disappeared from radar screens before crashing into a mountainous region of the northern province.

Royal Thai Air Force Commander Itthiporn Supawong has ordered the Air Safety Committee to inspect the crash site and investigate the cause of the accident.

Meanwhile, officials from Air Force Bases in Phitsanulok, Chiang Mai and Nakhon Sawan have been instructed to retrieve the deceased pilot’s remains and the wreckage of the aircraft in line with due process in such matters.

According to Air Force spokesman Monthon Satchukorn, Flt Lt Thanikorn and three other pilots were on a Monday morning training mission when the fighter went down, the mission included a flight from the Air Force base at Nakhon Sawan to Chiang Mai. The three other RTAF F-16 jets landed in Chiang Mai shortly after the crash.

Since 1996, 18 F-16 fighter jets have been stationed and operational at the Nakhon Sawan Air Force Base in Takhli district, maintenance and safety procedures are stringently adhered to according to RTAF sources. This is the first incident involving an F-16 in Thailand.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thailand's Leading Low-Cost Airline Expands Its Fleet with 2 Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s

Nok Air, a leading Thai low-cost airline, is introducing two 190-seat Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s as it further expands its network.

The aircraft will have a dynamic-style exterior design in colors that reflect Nok Air's innovative approach. The interior will be equipped with the modern designs with larger windows for better views and excellent on board entertainment systems.

Patee Sarasin, CEO of Nok Air said, "As Nok Air expands its network, we are looking to add to our fleet with aircraft that fit our criteria, and the Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s is our choice, with its improved comfort and performance. Its fuel efficiency means that it is kinder to the environment and the reduced fuel consumption is certainly a positive in this era of high fuel costs. We are looking forward to having these planes flying the Nok bird colors."

"This is another strong endorsement of the 737," said Christopher Flint, Boeing director of Sales for Thailand. "Nok Air will use these new 737-800s to give its customers the best service available in terms of reliability and comfort."

The 737 is the newest and most advanced single-aisle airplane. It flies higher, faster and farther than previous models and competitors. Its flight deck features liquid-crystal flat-panel displays and is designed to accommodate new communications and flight-management capabilities.

About Nok Air

Nok Air is a Thai low-cost airline offering affordable services that meet international safety standards. Launched in 2004, it has been offering domestic flights from Bangkok (Don Muang) to various domestic destinations and recently added new routes between major provinces. Nok Air now also flies international between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hanoi.

About Boeing

The Boeing Company is the world's leading aerospace company, and the largest manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners, and military aircraft. The company is also a global market leader in missile defense, human space flight, and launch services.

Nok Air Press Contact:

Tom Van Blarcom / Maetavarin Maneekulpan

TQPR Thailand

Tel: 1382 66 2260 5820

Fax: 66 2260 5847-8

Boeing Press Contact:

Juraikarn Trakulvech

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Tel: 66 2205 6611

Fax: 66 2205 6686

Author Information

Tom Van Blarcom / Maetavarin Maneekulpan

Body of pilot in RTAF Tak fighter jet crash recovered

TAK, Oct 18 – The body of an RTAF F-16 jet fighter pilot was found in wreckage Monday after a Royal Thai Air Force jet crashed in Ban Tak district of Tak province earlier in the day.

The body of Flight Lieutenant Thanikorn Luangrungwaree, 31, was found in the wreckage of the fallen jet after the RTAF F16 fighter disappeared from the radar and crashed into a mountain and then exploded in Den Mai Sung village of Ban Tak district.

According to the report, Flt Lt Thanikorn died instantly in the crash amid bad weather.

Meanwhile, Royal Thai Air Force Commander Itthiporn Supawong ordered the Air Safety Committee to inspect the crash site and investigate the cause of the accident. Officials from Air Force bases in Phitsanulok, Chiang Mai and Nakhon Sawan have been instructed to retrieve the pilot's remains and the wreckage of the jet before sending the body for religious rites.

Air Force spokesman Monthon Satchukorn said the pilots on Monday morning were on a training mission, flying four RTAF F16 fighters from Nakhon Sawan to Chiang Mai.

During the training flight, the fighter piloted by Flt Lt Thanikorn crashed in Tak province, while the three other aircraft landed safely at Chiang Mai Air Force Base.

Eighteen Air Force F16 fighter jets have been stationed and used at Nakhon Sawan Air Force Base of Takhli district since 1996. Aircraft mechanics usually conduct maintenance and safety checks as scheduled. No accident has previously happened to this type of aircraft in the country. (MCOT online news)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Qatar to go direct to Phuket

The tropical holiday island of Phuket in Thailand is to get boost with a new direct air service. The Middle East carrier Qatar is to start a direct flight to the Andaman Sea hot spot as from November 2010. It will be the first direct connection from the Middle East to Phuket.

Qatar operates out of Doha and connects with most of the European cities including London. By offering this new service passengers who would normally have to route via Bangkok can fly direct having changed aircraft in Doha. Mr Pramoth Supyen, director for the Tourist Authority for Thailand (TAT) in Dubai , said the Middle East was of particular importance to the Thai tourism industry.

Some 450,000 from the region visited Thailand last year with a value to the economy of THB2 billion (£42.5 million).The average stay for Middle East visitors is 9 days according to TAT, with the majority of them traveling with family. The average daily expenditure per person is THB 5,000 Baht (£110).

Some of them travel for medical treatment. Thailand and Phuket have a reputation for some of the best medical care in the world. Apart from the Middle East client, Thailand can expect to see plenty of new business from Europe. With a direct connection through to Phuket visitors from Britain, France, Germany and Italy will look forward to the idea of not having to visit Phuket via Bangkok.

Qatar are regarded highly in the air travel business with awards for business class service. They have operated a Doha to Bangkok route for many years, and this new service will add to their success in serving South East Asia.

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield

To anyone who is either interested in abandoned monuments or in abandoned military equipment, this place is like a treasure trove or fantasy land. These are pictures from a Ukrainian airfield which has rows upon rows of military vehicles as far as the eye can see. To the untrained eye, there are airplanes, helicopters, trucks, trailers and tanks. To the eye which knows one military vehicle from another, there are L-29’s, An-24RT, Mi-2, Mi-8 and En-2 lying unattended on this abandoned airfield. To think that once they were the source of splendor and pride to the armed forces, it indeed seems cruel that they are now lying in an empty airfield with no purpose or activity. Their row upon row formation is still reminiscent of the discipline of the armed forces and it is pleasure to note that they are not lying abandoned in an haphazard manner.

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 1

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 2

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 3

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 4

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 5

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 7

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 8

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 9

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 10

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 11

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 12

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 13

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 1

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 2

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 3

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 4

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 5

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 7

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 8

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 9

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 10

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 11

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 12

Abandoned Ukrainian Airfield 13

Owl's Choose:

Honor at Last for Roy P

I did this as a way to honor all those who have struggled to come back from serving our country in times of war. The most interesting part for me was something I didn't find out until after I created this photoplay, was that this was Roy's second tour. He had been so gravely wounded, by stepping on a landmine, on his first tour that he was drummed out of the Army after returning. Roy built his body back up and returned to the service after proving himself fit and joined the elite Green Beret's and went back to Vietnam for a second tour for which he received the Medal of Honor.

How air attacks were detected before radar...

Old time acoustic hearing aids