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Brussels bombers had planned new attack in France

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Brussels bombers had planned new attack in France
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


BRUSSELS: The militant cell behind bombings in Brussels had been plotting to hit France again after carrying out the Paris attacks in November, but was forced to strike closer to home as police closed in, Belgian prosecutors said on Sunday.

Investigations into the Islamic State attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people, showed that many of the perpetrators lived in Belgium, including surviving suspects who managed to evade police for more than four months.

Prime suspect Salah Abdeslam was arrested on March 18 in the Belgian capital. Four days later, suicide bombers killed 32 people in Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train.

“Numerous elements in the investigation have shown that the terrorist group initially had the intention to strike in France again,” Belgium’s federal prosecutor said in a statement.

“Surprised by the speed of progress in the investigation, they took the decision to strike in Brussels.”

Belgian intelligence and security forces had been criticised abroad for not doing more to dismantle the militant cell, because of its links to the Paris attacks.

As of Friday, all publicly identified suspects were either in detention or dead, but Belgium remains on its second highest threat level, and Prime Minister Charles Michel said his government would remain alert.

His comments were echoed by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who said France would not be lowering its guard.

“This is a further sign of the very serious threat facing Europe as a whole and of course France in particular,” Valls told a news conference in Algiers.

Abdeslam, born and raised in Belgium to Moroccan-born parents, told a magistrate he had planned to blow himself up at a sports stadium in Paris in November, but backed out at the last minute. His brother Brahim blew himself up at a Paris cafe.

Another man linked to the Paris attacks, Mohamed Abrini, was arrested in Brussels on Friday and admitted to being the “man in the hat” captured on video walking into Brussels airport alongside two suicide bombers.

Abrini, 31, has been charged with terrorist murders, prosecutors said.

Another main suspect who was seen alongside the suicide bomber in the Brussels metro, identified by prosecutors as Osama K, was also arrested on Friday in the Belgian capital.

Osama K, 28, widely named by media as Swedish national Osama Krayem, was filmed buying the bags used to carry the Brussels bombs.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Southeast Asia

Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular?

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Bangkok to Hong Kong the world’s second most popular flight, what’s the most popular? | The Thaiger

The world’s top five flying routes are all in the Asia Pacific region, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. Aviation writers say the growth can be attributed to the addition of flights operated by low-cost carriers in the region.

Passenger traffic between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Hong Kong airport is Number Two on the list of the airports with the world’s busiest air traffic. The trip between Hong Kong and Taipei Taoyuan, Taiwan, is the most popular route in the world carrying 5.4 million passengers per year.

Passenger traffic between Suvarnabhumi and Hong Kong reached 3.4 million in 2018, up 9% from 2017.

The report of IATA world airline traffic for 2018 also shows that airlines in the Asia Pacific carried the largest number of passengers in the world.

Global passenger traffic results for 2018 showed that demand rose by a healthy 6.5% compared to full-year 2017. Although this represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of 8.0%, it was another year of above-trend growth. Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to a record 81.9%, exceeding the previous high set in 2017.

“Airlines are connecting more people and places than ever before. The freedom to fly is more accessible than ever. And our world is a more prosperous place as a result,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director-general and CEO.

In terms of pure numbers of flights for 2018, here are the results. Eight out of ten of the routes are all in the Asia-Pacific.

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  1. Kuala Lumpur – Singapore: 30,187 flights
  2. Hong Kong – Taipei: 28,447 flights
  3. Jakarta – Singapore: 27,046 flights
  4. Hong Kong – Shanghai: 20,678 flights
  5. Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur: 19,741 flights
  6. Seoul Incheon – Osaka: 19,711 flights
  7. New York LaGuardia – Toronto: 17,038 flights
  8. Hong Kong – Seoul Incheon: 15,770 flights
  9. Bangkok – Singapore: 14,698 flights
  10. Dubai – Kuwait: 14,581 flights
  11. Bangkok – Hong Kong: 14,556 flights
  12. Hong Kong – Beijing: 14,537 flights
  13. New York JFK – London Heathrow: 14,195 flights
  14. Tokyo Narita – Taipei: 13,902 flights
  15. Dublin – London Heathrow: 13,855 flights
  16. Osaka – Shanghai: 13,708 flights
  17. Hong Kong – Singapore: 13,654 flights
  18. Chicago O’Hare – Toronto: 13,503 flights
  19. Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita: 13,517 flights
  20. Osaka – Taipei: 13,325 flights

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Tourism

Which flight route makes the most money in the world?

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Which flight route makes the most money in the world? | The Thaiger

The world of aviation now has its first billion dollar route. That’s a flight route that makes more money for an airline than any other. And for the first time that route has breached the one billion dollar ceiling – British Airways’ service between London Heathrow and New York’s JFK.

OAG has come up with a list of the routes and airlines that generate the highest revenue around the world.

The Heathrow to JFK route pockets British Airways more than $1.15 billion in the 12 months up to April 2019. With 600+ flights per month, that equates to an hourly revenue of $27,159, a 10% increase on last year’s revenue. British Airways operates the venerable Boeing 747 and Boeing 777-200s on its Heathrow to JFK services.

So where is the second most profitable flight route in the world? QANTAS Airways’ domestic service between the southern cities of Melbourne and Sydney generates more than $861 million a year for Australia’s national airline.

Number 3 and 4 were also flights out of London’s Heathrow – Emirates’ service to Dubai and Singapore Airlines’ route to Singapore Changi. The Heathrow flights to Doha with Qatar Airways was number 7 and Cathay Pacific’s flights to Hong Kong were Number 8.

North American domestic routes also figured in the top 10. United Airlines’ San Francisco to Newark route delivered annual revenue of $689 million dollars and Air Canada’s Vancouver to Toronto route was Number 9 with annual revenue of $541 million dollars.

Highest-revenue flight routes: April 2018 – March 2019

1. British Airways: New York JFK – London Heathrow

(Total revenue: $1,159,126,794 / revenue per hour: $27,159)

2. Qantas Airways: Melbourne – Sydney

(Total revenue: $861,260,322 / revenue per hour: $23,773)

3. Emirates: London Heathrow – Dubai International

(Total revenue: $796,201,645 / revenue per hour: $24,926)

4. Singapore Airlines: London Heathrow – Singapore Changi

(Total revenue: $735,597,614 / revenue per hour: $18,771)

5. United Airlines: San Francisco International – Newark

(Total revenue: $689,371,368 / revenue per hour: $12,882)

6. American Airlines: Los Angeles LAX – New York JFK

(Total revenue: $661,739,788 / Revenue per hour: $13,099)

7. Qatar Airways: London Heathrow – Hamad International

(Total revenue: $639,122,609 / revenue per hour: $20,415)

8. Cathay Pacific Airways: Hong Kong International – London Heathrow

(Total revenue: $604,595,063 / revenue per hour: $13,887)

9. Singapore Airlines: Sydney – Singapore Changi

(Total revenue: $549,711,946 / revenue per hour: $20,821)

10. Air Canada: Vancouver YVR – Toronto Pearson International

(Total revenue: $541,122,509 / revenue per hour: $11,936)

SOURCE: CNN Travel

 

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Business

Asian stock markets follow Wall Street’s lead downward this morning

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Asian stock markets follow Wall Street’s lead downward this morning | The Thaiger

Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street’s lead this morning falling sharply as investors made their concerns apparent about economic recessions in some of the larger economies. They also reacted to more threats of instability from the trade war between the US and China.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index dropped 1.6% during this morning’s trading.

US markets led the march downward yesterday, with the Dow Jones closing just over 3% down with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 posting similar falls.

In other markets the Nikkei 225 dropped nearly 2%. In China, the Shenzhen Composite and Shanghai Composite dropped more than 1%, as did the Hang Seng shedding .5%. The reverse was the case in South Korea with the Kospi rising .5%. China’s industrial output grew by only 4.8% year-on-year in July. This growth rate was the lowest in 17 years. (Many other nations would have been delighted to have had a 4.8% growth rate!)

Meanwhile, the German GDP shrank by 0.1% in Q2 2019, raising fears that Europe’s largest economy is heading for recession. On Twitter, US President Donald Trump blamed the Federal Reserve, calling it “clueless” and noting he has repeatedly called for larger interest rate cuts.

Prominent economist and Noble prize laureate Paul Krugman downplayed threats of recession saying that “objectively, the economic problems are nowhere near as serious as 2008, or even 2001.”

“But we’re being led by the gang that couldn’t think straight.”

Krugman blamed Trump and his aides for poor economic policies and said that Fed is unlikely to come and rescue the markets, according to The Nation.

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