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Private jets to rise in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Private jets to rise in Phuket | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Thai business aircraft operator MJets has opened the country’s first dedicated fixed-base operation (FBO) at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport to exploit the growing demand for business aviation throughout the South-East Asian country.

According to flightglobal.com, the executive lounge includes showers, a business centre for passengers and pilots, and flight planning and pilot briefing facilities.

“The business jet market in Thailand is growing. In addition to the jets that we have, several local tycoons and air charter companies are interested in buying more jets or trading up to a bigger aircraft. A variety of aircraft are being purchased in Thailand,” says MJets spokesman Navdeepak Vaid.

MJets is also keen to set up an FBO on Phuket Island, one of Thailand’s premier holiday destinations. It was not immediately clear where that FBO would be located, but Phuket International Airport is the only facility in the province with a runway capable of handling jets. The only other runway currently on the island is the 500-metre grass strip at the privately owned Phuket Airpark in Pa Khlok.

Asia Pacific air travel now world’s busiest

Asia Travel Tips
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air travel in the Asia Pacific region, and Thailand therein, surpassed North America for the first time in 2009, numbering 647 million passengers compared to the 638 million who had traveled within North America.

By 2013, IATA predicts an additional 217 million travelers – both business and leisure – will fly within Asia Pacific.

Within Thailand, Phuket International Airport ranks as the third busiest air terminal in the nation, following Bangkok’s Suvarnphumi and Don Mueung airports, respectively.

A major, 5-billion baht expansion of Phuket airport was announced in 2008. The expansion would increase the facility’s capacity to 12.5 million passengers per year, up from roughly 6 million last year. For the Phuket Gazette’s latest story on that project, click here.

Phuket hotels booming

Hotel News Now
Hotels in the Asia/Pacific region, most notably in Phuket, Thailand, experienced increases in all three key performance metrics for February 2010, according to data compiled by STR Global.

In year-on-year measurements, the Asia/Pacific region’s occupancy rose 4.7 percent to 60.6 percent, with the average daily rate rising 16.2 percent and revenue per available room jumping 21.6 percent.

Highlights from key market performers for February 2010 include Phuket, which ended the month with the largest occupancy increase, rising 35.9 percent to 85.3 percent, followed by Bangkok (up 23.1 percent to 70.1 percent) and Bali (up 20.2 percent to 70.3 percent).

Thai economy in boom

Business Week
Thailand’s stock index, Asia’s best performer this month, will outperform other Southeast Asian markets as its valuations and easing political concerns draw more foreign investors, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The improving economic outlook will boost first-quarter earnings of Thai companies, and gains in the baht will lift the market’s valuation, the brokerage said.

Overseas investors bought 40.3 billion baht more Thai stocks than they sold in the past 20 days, stock exchange data showed, as the number of anti-government protesters subsides. The baht has risen 2.2 percent this month, Asia’s third- best performing currency. All this considered, the economy may expand as much as 4.5 percent this year from a contraction of 2.3 percent in 2009, the bank said.

Thailand tops for hotels

Asia Travel Tips
The Wotif Group, operators of Phuket.com with a major office in Phuket, has announced that it is focused on developing Thailand as a key growth market.

Robbie Cooke, Managing Director and Group CEO of Wotif says, “Thailand is consistently popular with tourists across the world, and the last 6 months has seen the trend continue through our Wotif.com and AsiaWebDirect.com accommodation sites.

“Despite political unrest, we historically have seen bookings for Thailand bounce back quickly through our websites…. We have seen only a few cancellations from travelers following the recent events, and expect that while tourism may dip in the short term, overall we will see a good year if the situation stabilizes.”

Security laws extended

BBC
Special security powers have been extended for another week in Thailand.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) allows the country’s security forces to set up checkpoints, impose curfews and limit movement under the overall command of the military if needed. It was originally enforced across eight provinces, Phuket not among them, to prevent violence, but the extension now covers Bangkok and two  neighboring provinces.

“We think it has been an effective tool. Without it, I think the situation over the last seven or eight days would have been different and therefore we still need this tool to achieve our objective,” Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva told reporters.

Phuket has been calm since the protests began two weeks ago, and there continue to be no known plans for any demonstrations in the island province.

— Gazette Editors

 

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