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CAAC chief: International flights unlikely before September

Jack Burton

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CAAC chief: International flights unlikely before September | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Cambodianess

Dashing hopes that international arrivals (code for ‘tourist flights’) could resume on July 1, Thailand’s senior civilian aviation regulator says that they’re are likely to resume as late as September. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s director says none of the airlines he’s met expressed any interest in resuming international flights next month, when the order shutting down the country’s airspace is set to expire.

He believes the reluctance reflects continued uncertainty over the government’s policies on international travel, which in recent months have changed often and abruptly.

“I believe international flights will resume this September. None of the airlines could assess the demand for air travel. They have to wait and see the situation by the end of this month.”

Over the past month the buzz word for international travel has been ‘travel bubbles’ but the Thai government has made no announcements about which countries or cities would be involved, leaving international airlines ‘up in the air’ and unable to commit to flight schedules.

Thailand’s airspace has been closed to international flights since early April due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Only essential journeys such as repatriation, cargo and diplomatic flights are allowed to fly in or out of the country, though many domestic flights have resumed over the past month.

“The government must make a final decision about when the country’s airspace can open. But it does not mean an all-out opening for air travellers, since only businesspeople will be allowed to take the flights under the so-called travel bubble proposals.”

The travel bubble proposal would likely only include a handful of what Thailand considers ‘zero risk’ or very ‘low-risk’ countries.

The CAAT also announced a set of new safety measures during a meeting with airlines and airport operators. Under the new rules, airlines are no longer required to leave empty seats between passengers, but passengers must still wear facemasks throughout the journey. Food and beverages can only be served on flights exceeding 2 hours, and they must be prepared in a sealed container. Airlines are also required to prepare a space in the cabin to separate sick passengers from others (but not required for journeys of less than an hour).

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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