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Phuket Air barred from EU

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Air barred from EU | The Thaiger
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BRUSSELS: Phuket Air has been included in a list of 93 passenger and cargo airlines barred from European Union countries and Switzerland, on safety grounds.

It is one of only two airline in East Asia included in the list, the other being North Korea’s Air Koryo. Most of the list, made public on Wednesday, comprises airlines from Africa, with a sprinkling from Central Asia and one from Bangladesh.

The European Commission (EC) has also advised passengers to avoid flying with these airlines elsewhere in the world.

Jacques Barrot, the EC Vice-President responsible for transport, explained, “The European Union now has a coherent approach to banning airlines. This blacklist will keep dubious airlines out of Europe. It will also make sure that all airlines operating in Europe’s sky meet the highest safety standards.”

The list, issued on Wednesday, is a first step, the EC noted in an official release. “The list will be updated as often as is necessary and at least every three months.”

Airlines may be added to the list at the request of European Union member states, or by the EC itself. Airlines may also apply to be taken off the list if they believe that their safety standards have been improved to meet EC requirements.

Contacted by the Gazette today, a spokesperson for the airline said that management could give no comment on the EC announcement at this point.

Phuket Air began to have problems with its safety image in April last year when passengers aboard one of its Boeing 747s bound for London forced a takeoff to be aborted after seeing fuel pouring from a wing tank after a refueling stop in Sharjah.

A few days later another flight was abandoned after it had to turn back to London with a hydraulics problem.

Phuket Air dumped its London route and attempted to switch instead to Amsterdam, but the Dutch authorities barred a flight from taking off after it was discovered that emergency lighting inside the aircraft was not working properly. There were also questions over the pilot’s papers.

In May, the airline was barred from Dutch and British airspace. In August it had an aircraft seized in South Korea for non-payment of airport fees and in the same month it was barred from France.

By the end of August, Phuket air had almost withdrawn from the international market, serving only one international route, between Bangkok and Yangon.

In September, one of its smaller aircraft skidded off the end of the runway at Tak airport, in northern Thailand. No one was injured, but one passenger, Senator Udon Tantisunthorn, suggested the crash might have been caused by pilot error. “If you ask me, the plane should have touched down at the beginning of the runway rather than around the middle,” he said.

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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