Phuket wins direct flights from Beijing

Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.

PHUKET: Hainan Airlines is preparing to launch non-stop flights to Phuket from Beijing on July 31, becoming the first and only domestic carrier to offer such a service.

According to China Hospitality News, the fourth-largest carrier in China will operate three weekly flights – every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The flights will depart Beijing at 18:00 local time and arrive in Phuket at 22:50 local time. The return flight will leave at 23:50 local time and arrive Beijing the following morning at 06:15 local time.

The route will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

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The non-stop flights will cut travel time by more than five hours, making it much more convenient for air passengers to the tropical island.

Phuket is often dubbed ‘The Pearl of the Andaman’.

Phuket air traffic rising

TTR Weekly
Airports of Thailand’s recently released traffic figures for June show a 4.5% growth in aircraft movements at all six airports, while passengers dropped marginally by 0.57%.

Notably, Phuket International Airport’s traffic has improved month-by-month this year, despite political turmoil. International passenger traffic increased by an average of 50%, while aircraft movements increased by more than 30% every month. In February, aircraft movements improved by 62%.

In June, international aircraft movements at Phuket Airport improved 33% over the same month last year, and by 46% for international passengers.

However, domestic traffic told a different tale. While domestic airlines increased their flights resulting in a 23% increase in aircraft movements, domestic passenger traffic sank 6%.

June was the second month that Phuket received fewer domestic travellers, following a decline in May.

Phuket to be halal hub

The World of Halal Science, Industry & Business (WHASIB) conference for 2010 recently held in Phuket puts Phuket on the world map as a center for dietarily pure and wholesome food and personal care products.

Muslims around the world must observe religiously-directed food and lifestyle behaviours – known as ‘halal’ – to maintain their personal ritual cleanliness within their communities.

Phuket’s Halal Expo was organised in Phuket to promote Muslim culture and Muslim-related businesses in the region.

PIA offers emotional balance tips
Asia Travel Tips

The Phuket International Academy Mind Centre (PIAMC) is hosting an exclusive training seminar for professionals looking to heighten their awareness in cultivating emotional balance within themselves and passing on the knowledge to a broader audience.

Running until 24 August 2010, the “Cultivating Emotional Balance Teachers’ Training” course will be taught by world renowned psychology professor Dr Paul Ekman and Dr B. Alan Wallace (who is also Chairman of PIAMC) in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies.

A team of IT experts will be using video conferencing software which will allow Dr Ekman to not only give lectures from his home in California, but to communicate directly with participants and answer questions each day.

Tesco may eye Carrefour

Business Times
Tesco plc investors want the UK’s largest retailer to bid for Carrefour SA’s Southeast Asian supermarket assets, but not at the indicated price.

Carrefour is open to offers for its units in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. For the combined operations, Carrefour has indicated a price of US$800 million to US$1 billion, the Tesco plc investors said, a valuation that according to Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Justin Scarborough would be too high for any bidder.

“If Tesco keeps putting money into their strong markets, and Thailand is clearly one, then that would be grand,” said Phil Doel, an investment manager at F&C Asset Management in London, whose funds hold about 1% of Tesco shares.

“It depends on price and the return they can get,” he said.

Tesco generates about a third of its sales outside the UK, where growth is slowing amid heightened competition and easing inflation.

Asia accounts for about 15 per cent of the retailer’s revenue and is its fastest-growing division by earnings, which rose 24 per cent last year. Tesco plans to add 4.9 million sq ft of new store space in the region this year.

Tesco and Carrefour both operate in Phuket, but provincial figures on their operations in Phuket are not published.

Russian Pianist ordered to return to Thailand

BBC News
Charged with the rape of a 14-year-old boy in Pattaya and released on bail earlier this month, Mikhail Pletnev was ordered at a hearing on Monday to return to Pattaya every 12 days to renew his bail, set at 300,000 baht (approx $9,000).

Mr Pletnev, who conducts the Russian National Orchestra, is allowed to travel abroad as long as he continues to make his court appearances.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Mr Pletnev said: “I say again these allegations are not true.”

“I have always stated that I will assist the police in every way I can with their enquiries into the allegations that have been made against me.”

If found guilty of the charges against him, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

He was not considered a flight risk because he is resident in Thailand and owns property here.

Mr Pletnev is an internationally famous musician – a virtuoso pianist, composer and conductor – and a friend of former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.

He won a Grammy in 2005 for an arrangement of Prokofiev’s Cinderella.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News

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