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Thai Airways being torn apart from within

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thai Airways being torn apart from within | Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): Although the board of directors at Thai Airways decided to reinstate its president, Apinan Sumanaseni, last week, the national carrier’s internal problems are still far from resolution. Executives and staff members have been divided largely because of internal conflicts that have arisen from criticism of the board’s major decisions.

For instance, THAI will stop direct flights between Bangkok and New York because the national carrier can no longer afford to offer its passengers lower prices than those available from neighbouring airlines, such as Singapore Air, which offers only business seating for its direct flights to New York. Many critics have questioned the huge expense involved in starting the Bangkok-New York route to begin with.

Moreover, staff and union members have challenged the THAI executives’ decision to acquire eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft, at a total cost of 30 billion baht. Opponents of the plan said the acquisition would place a higher burden on THAI’s operating costs. In fact, THAI executives had earlier decided to expand the aircraft fleet through lease contracts, which should have saved costs. But the Samak government decided instead to purchase the eight aircraft outright earlier this year. The union cited this decision as one of the wrong ones made by the board.

The union made the solid argument that, considering the sluggish aviation industry, this purchase of new aircraft was ill-timed, especially when the original decision to acquire the aircraft through leases would have eased the airline’s financial burdens.

THAI staff and executives are divided into two groups: those who support Apinan and those who support executive vice president Norahat Phloiyai, who briefly replaced Apinan as president. The movement against Apinan started some time ago. However, Norahat was not seen as a perfect choice due to his close connections with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The decision of the board to remove and abruptly reinstate Apinan is simply the tip of the iceberg. Ongoing protests reflect the union’s anger toward what they say has been the mismanagement of THAI. And the union does not trust the board. They see hidden motivations behind certain decisions.

The feeling of mistrust inside the organisation has links to the disruption in the selection of a president for the carrier. Apinan was removed but reinstated. Norahat for a brief period – about six hours – replaced Apinan. Local newspapers described the THAI board of directors as uncharacteristically immature and undignified for a national flag carrier.

The underlying issue of the conflict at THAI is staff concerns that the airline’s operations are not based purely on professional considerations. There is the belief that if THAI’s operations are motivated by political influence, then the national carrier’s ability to compete with other airlines in the region would be adversely affected.

Besides, the national carrier cannot accept anything less than genuinely professional management, especially now that oil prices have compounded the difficulties for airlines in general, and in an already fiercely competitive industry.

The board and management at THAI need to sort out their disputes and make the right decisions for the airline without compromising their professional integrity. The incident last week has already tarnished our national carrier’s image at home an abroad. We deserve better than that.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive. The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… โ€œWe want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,โ€

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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