Tour Royale drivers in airport protest

NAI YANG: The 65 drivers of Tour Royale Enterprise Co are staging a protest just outside the entrance to the Phuket International Airport (PIA) after the airport authorities refused to extend the company’s airport service concession, which expired yesterday. The protest began yesterday and has continued through today. Drivers have parked a long line of vehicles near the entrance to the airport, though they have not blocked the way in. Tour Royale driver Viphan Jantharathaipruck, who is leading the protest, explained that the company had had a concession to provide airport transport services for more than six years, but that when its second three-year contract expired yesterday, it was not renewed. Up to yesterday, the PIA granted permission to two companies, Tour Royale and Phuket Limousine and Business Services Cooperative Ltd (PBC), to take passengers to and from the airport. The PIA extended this year’s concession only to PBC, which has about 80 vehicles in its fleet. Lt Cdr Boonchart Prompoon, director of PIA, said the PIA did not renew the concession contract with Tour Royale because the limousine service had “failed to meet conditions of the contract”. While he did not give details, he hinted that the problems were financial. “It’s like a bank. If the bank has good customers, it will continue and be happy to go on doing business, but if the bank has a bad customer it will have to cut it from the list,” Cdr Boonchart said. He added that the decision to drop Tour Royale was made by a committee of the Airport Authority of Thailand in Bangkok. The PIA alerted Tour Royale by letter at least three months ago that the concession would not be renewed, he said. Cdr Boonchart and PIA officials are currently meeting with Tour Royale representatives to discuss the concession. Tour Royale managers were not available for comment.

Phuket News

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