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Low cost carrier Thai AirAsia ponders merger

Jack Burton

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Low cost carrier Thai AirAsia ponders merger | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Tassapon Bijleveld - Travel Daily News Asia
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The CEO of Thai AirAsia says it may merge with another low-cost carrier to avoid cutthroat pricing wars once flights resume after the Covid-19 crisis subsides, and has admitted to conversations with other airlines. He says if tourism doesn’t resume by July, TAA will be forced to begin laying off employees, downsizing the company and its fleet to keep its business alive.

Thailand has 7 low-cost carriers which has forced a vicious price-war in the past five years providing cheap flights for people using the carriers in Thailand.

But local low cost carriers have suffered disproportionately over the past few months as the Covid-19 pandemic virtually shut down air travel in Asia and in many countries around the world. The Thai government’s restrictions on international and even domestic air travel have caused TAA serious losses. Some 40% of its revenue previously came from flights passing through Phuket’s airport.

The Thai franchise of Air Asia is losing about 1.2 billion baht per month due to the lockdown. Its 60 aircraft fleet is left stranded at airports according to Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of SET-listed Asia Aviation.

Tassapon, a major shareholder with 40.52% of Asia Aviation, the owner of TAA, told the Bangkok Post he’s already had conversations with other airlines about the possibility of a merger. He couldn’t disclose any details but says there isn’t a concrete plan, and other conditions must be fulfilled to enable a decision.

“A merger is possible if aviation in Thailand resumes with the same old fiery price wars. Furthermore now we have more limited revenue sources.”

Though domestic air services have taken off since May, passenger loads have not been good, as only those required to travel are doing so, and there is virtually no leisure travel.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Uruguay’s Covid-19 Policy of “freedom with responsibility” shows success

Anukul

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Uruguay’s Covid-19 Policy of “freedom with responsibility” shows success | The Thaiger
PHOTO: DW

To the Government of Uruguay’s relief, their policy of “independence with responsibility” in the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have been successful… so far. Yesterday, when Europe opened its borders to 15 countries, Uruguay became the only Latin American country to be included. With less than 1,000 registered Covid-19 cases and just 27 deaths, the 3.4 million-plus nation is a significant anomaly in the south American countries that have become the new hotzone of coronavirus cases. Read more HERE

Uruguay currently has just 83 confirmed cases, while its giant neighbour Brazil is the hardest hit country in the world after the US.

This performance is especially impressive as there has never been an official lockdown to the extent other countries have imposed. Instead, in the midst of industrial businesses, school and border closures, authorities ‘advised’ people to stay indoors and strictly adhere to social distancing.

The message was conveyed to the public by media and police helicopters flying overhead with frequent updates and positive messaging, education and information.

The president, who took office in early March as the pandemic was just warming up, said he opted for “individual rights” rather than a “police state” approach. Calls for self-isolation were widely adhered to with minimal effort from officials.

Infectious disease specialist Alvaro Galiana credits the success of Uruguay to early identification and tracking.

Galiana says… “The early appearance of well-known cases, at a time when the circulation of the virus within the population was very limited, led to adequate measures being implemented, even if at the time they seemed exaggerated “.

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Nightlife operators warned: follow the rules or face closure

Jack Burton

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Nightlife operators warned: follow the rules or face closure | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Tripzilla

Bangkok police have issued a stern warning to nightlife venue operators… follow the rules or be closed again. National police chief Chaktip Chaijinda has instructed officers to make sure entertainment venue operators comply with disease control regulations and that both service providers and customers understand the “new normal.”

The warning comes after a meeting of senior city police, the Health Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and more than 200 entertainment venue operators, in which they were briefed on regulatory compliance in the fifth phase of lockdown relaxations. He said entertainment venues that fail to adopt the safety regulations will be warned, and if they refuse to comply, will be ordered to suspend their operations.

Dararat Matkham, a restaurant and karaoke operator, said she’s relieved nightlife venues are being allowed to reopen, and has already put in place public health safety practices – she’s provided sanitiser gel for customers and microphones will be cleaned regularly, although customers are being advised to bring their own microphones. She says her premises will place tables in accordance with social distancing rules.

Somwang Chuenhathai, a “soapy massage” operator says his business has made it mandatory for masseuses to wear face shields or masks while working, and his premises will be cleaned before and during opening hours.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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World travel business faces slow recovery – UN report

The Thaiger

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World travel business faces slow recovery – UN report | The Thaiger

Plenty of businesses are suffering and recovery will be slow, and lumpy. One of the hardest hit, and probably one of the most difficult industries to re-start, is the world travel business. Hotels, airlines, tour companies, travel agencies and online booking systems… and the millions of people employed to make all those work together as a working machine.

Now a UN study predicts that the global tourism business will lose up to US$3.3 trillion due to impact of Covid-19 bans and lockdowns, with Thailand to lose US$47 billion alone. According to the report, Thailand and France stand to lose around US$47 billion each. But the US and China are projected to have single largest losses in the travel industry.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in the global economy. By the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had brought international travel to an abrupt halt and significantly impacted the tourism industry.”

The UN Conference on Trade and Development has released its ‘Covid-19 and Tourism’ and poses 3 scenarios for the world travel industry, assessing the impact of restrictive measures lasting 4, 8 and 12 months. Revenues are projected to fall $1.17, $2.22 and $3.3 trillion in the 3 scenarios, or 1.5-4.2% of the world’s GDP.

Speaking at a media conference, one of the authors believed that the second scenario “could be a realistic one”.

“International tourism has been almost totally suspended, and domestic tourism curtailed by lockdown conditions imposed in many countries. Although some destinations have started slowly to open up, many are afraid of international travel or cannot afford it due to the economic crisis.”

Then small tourist island states, such as Jamaica, stand to lose a much larger proportion of their economies, facing an 11% fall in GDP. Tourist islands like Bali and Phuket are also facing a bleak outlook until their tourism industries pick up again.

The UNCTAD report covers 65 individual countries and regions and is calling for governments to boost social protection for affected workers in the worst impacted nations.

World travel business faces slow recovery - UN report | News by The Thaiger

Download the full report HERE.

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