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Phuket’s budget airlines under fire; Phuket surf; Gas leak



Phuket’s budget airlines under fire; Phuket surf; Gas leak | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

Phuket’s budget airlines facing heat

PHUKET: The Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) is summoning low-cost airlines to respond to complaints of unfair charges.

The OCPB has issued letters to all low-cost airlines operating in Thailand – Thai AirAsia, Nok Air and OneTwoGo by Orient Thai, all of which operate in Phuket – demanding that they meet with officials by tomorrow to discuss the complaints.

The Nation reports this morning that last week an MP from the South raised the issue, saying no frill operators were charging passengers higher prices than usual. Some passengers paid airfares at a level similar to ordinary airlines such as THAI Airways, the MP alleged.

Santisuk Klongchaiya, director of commercial operations at Thai Air Asia, said the airline would meet with the OCPB this week. He insisted that the company’s average airfares were less than 10% of THAI’s.

However, some walk-in passengers might be subject to a higher price because of the airline’s ‘dynamic price’ reservation system, he said.

“I’m confident that more than 80 per cent of our consumers are enjoying cheap prices,” he said.

The three airlines are popular in Phuket, where complaints about their pricing are rarely heard in local media or encountered in the Phuket Gazette’s online forum.

Phuket Surf competition underway

Global Surf News
Phuket’s 2nd annual Quiksilver Thailand Surf Competition was officially opened yesterday in a program that included several children’s dances, a prayer to the gods of the sea, speeches by government officials, and the final registration of the competitors who will be surfing for cash, prizes, and prestige over the next three days off Kata Beach.

The Mayor of Karon Municipality, Tawee Thongcham, stepped up to the podium to announce the agenda that would follow. In addition to the professionally run international surfing competition, spectators and participants will be treated to concerts, parties, Phuket cultural shows, awareness presentations, surf instruction clinics, and “a whole lot of fun on the beach.”

Gas leak shuts down school

The Nation
A leak of hair bleach chemicals from a nearby factory forced a Bangkok school to temporarily close and evacuate its students yesterday. However, no one was harmed.

Parents picked up their children at Somapanussorn School yesterday after health officers warned teachers to evacuate the school as leaking chemical fumes spread from a nearby building in Soi Ramkhamhaeng.

After a chemical spill, smoke and fumes escaped from the four-storey commercial building of Beauty Professional Business, a maker of hair bleach products.

Phaithoon Ngammuk, sanitation technical officer of the health department at Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), said the leaking chemicals included potassium sulphate and sodium sulphate. Both react to humidity which caused the chemicals and smoke to spread, threatening irritation to human respiratory systems and eyes.

Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand secretary-general Chatree Charoencheevakul said the department’s officers warned the school to evacuate its kindergarten and primary students after the wind caused smoke to spread towards them.

Thailand concerned over rising baht

Thailand’s plan to ease restrictions on fund outflows may not be enough to stem an ongoing appreciation in the baht that threatens to slow growth in overseas shipments, exporters and trade groups said.

The central bank will allow companies to invest and lend more abroad and give them more flexibility when repatriating overseas earnings, moves aimed at alleviating pressure on the baht to appreciate from its strongest level in 13 years.

Governor Tarisa Watanagase has so far resisted calls to introduce controls on fund inflows, saying yesterday that existing measures to curb volatility are sufficient.

But policy makers, including Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai, have urged more aggressive action amid concern that the baht’s strength will crimp exports that account for about two-thirds of the country’s economy.

The ongoing strengthening of the baht is also posing a challenge to tourism, with resort areas such as Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui frequently citing concerns about the damage the phenomenon is inflicting on the hospitality industry.

— Gazette Editors


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