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AirAsia X to fly to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

AirAsia X to fly to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thai AirAsia X is spreading its wings to Japan to tap both the leisure and business segments using Thailand as its gateway to the Southeast Asia region.

CEO Nadda Buranasiri said yesterday that the long-haul, low-cost carrier is now connecting Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport with one flight a day and also to Osaka’s Kansai Airport with five flights a week.

Despite the low season, the move into Japan has been well received with the load factor averaging more than 80 per cent. This has given the airline confidence that demand for low-fare travel between the two countries will continue to increase.

“We have already achieved 50-per-cent advance bookings for the first quarter of 2015 and have decided to increase flight frequencies to two per day for Tokyo and one daily to Osaka to serve visitors during the Songkran holiday. Frequency adjustment will be starting in late March,” he said.

The airline’s third aircraft will also arrive in March, so more seats could be sold next year.

Introductory fares have been set at 19,000 yen (5,800 baht) per sector, inclusive of airport tax and fee, from Tokyo or Osaka to Bangkok or to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Krabi and Hat Yai via Bangkok. The returning one-way promotional fare from Bangkok to Tokyo is priced at 5,990 baht and to Osaka at 3,999 baht.

Since business class is available on flights in and out of Japan, the airline is targeting both the younger generation and businessmen with business-class fares that are slightly higher than the economy class fares of full-service airlines.

To set up a gateway, Thai AirAsia X is providing a Fly-Thru transit option for passengers from major cities in Thailand as well as in other countries in the region like Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Passengers now can benefit from flights to Japan with the Fly-Thru service at Don Mueang.

With its flight additions, Thai AirAsia X becomes the airline with the second biggest seat capacity between Bangkok and Narita with over 14 flights a week, or 10,556 seats per week.

Once flights to Kansai increase to seven per week, it will also have the second biggest capacity between Bangkok and Osaka at 5,278 seats per week.

“Thai AirAsia X is aiming to play a major role in stimulating travel from Japan to Thailand by offering connections throughout the Kingdom to its regional neighbors at equally low fares,” he said.

This year, Thai travellers to Japan could reportedly rise 30 per cent to 600,000 as the country’s variety of travel styles allows for repeat visits. There is also an equal number of free independent and group travellers from Thailand going to Japan.

While Japanese passenger numbers have dropped since the beginning of the year, an uptick is expected in the latter half and the airline is confident that this year will match last year’s total of 1.5 million.

Thai AirAsia X operates an Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 377 seats – 12 business class and 365 economy class. Those preferring to sleep can enjoy business class’ reclining premium flatbed seats, complimentary 40 kilograms of checked-in baggage, a complimentary meal and drinks, and many other privileges.

Direct flights to Narita and Osaka are Thai AirAsia X’s second and third routes following Seoul in South Korea, launched on June 17.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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

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“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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Business

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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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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