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Most of Thomas Cook stranded customers back in UK

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PHOTO: The Guardian

More than half of of the 150,000 holidaymakers left stranded abroad following the collapse of British travel company Thomas Cook are now back in the UK.

The local Civil Aviation Authority says that 76,000 people have now been repatriated in the first six days of ‘Operation Matterhorn’ – Britain’s largest peacetime repatriation of its citizens.

178 year old, debt-plagued Thomas Cook, which struggled against fierce online competition for years and maintains the ongoing Brexit uncertainty for a drop in bookings, declared bankruptcy last Monday after failing to secure another bailout.

The CAA said 95% of passengers were returning on the day they were originally scheduled to return. The operation will continue until October 6, with more than 1,000 flights planned to complete the repatriation mission. Some 76 flights were scheduled yesterday returning 16,700 people back to Britain.

“After five days, Operation Matterhorn has now flown home over half of the 150,000 customers who were abroad at the time Thomas Cook stopped trading,” said CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty.

“An operation of this scale and complexity will inevitably cause some inconvenience and disruption and I would like to thank holidaymakers for bearing with us as we work around the clock to bring them back.”

The CAA said it was processing hundreds of payments to hotels hosting Thomas Cook customers to ensure they could stay on and complete their holidays. Monday’s bankruptcy followed a lengthy period of chronic financial turmoil after a disastrous series of mergers left it burdened with soaring debt, a large branch network and high costs.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Thai Life

Burma or Myanmar? Myanmarese or Burmese?

The Thaiger

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Burma or Myanmar? Myanmarese or Burmese? | The Thaiger

We refer to Myanmar a lot in our news because it’s a bordering foreign country to Thailand and many people from Myanmar work in and around Thailand.

But is it Myanmar or Burma, and are the people that live there Myanmarese or Burmese?

As you’ll read across the media there is no precise answer to the question with foreign powers still referring to the country with its two names although, officially, since 1989, the ruling party changed the country’s name to Myanmar. But even in Myanmar locals continue to use both names.

“The ruling military junta changed its name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989, a year after thousands were killed in the suppression of a popular uprising. Rangoon also became Yangon.”

At The Thaiger we’ve decided to refer to the country as ‘Myanmar’ and the people as ‘Burmese’. Reading ‘a man from Myanmar’ is a lot more cumbersome than ‘a Burmese man’. But for the country we’re following the trend of most regional media using the official name Myanmar. Even the people living there continue to refer to themselves as Burmese.

Other publications have taken different decisions and that’s fine too. Here’s some information from The Culture Trip which provides a bit of background as to why our neighbouring country to the west lives on with two names and plenty of confusion.

Inside Asia Tours also has their own take on the name situation.

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Transport

Thousands of people have been travelling between provinces

Anukul

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Thousands of people have been travelling between provinces | The Thaiger
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… but not quite as many as before, so far. The Director General of the Department of Land Transport says that more people have been using the inter-provincial buses services after the government recently easing Thailands’ lock down situation.

He says…

“Although some long distance services are still not in operation to comply with the night time curfew, many inter-provincial routes of around 300 kilometres are open and have seen many commuters.”

“The department will gradually add buses to facilitate increased use and maintain social distancing.”

The department has announced that there were just under a million passengers per day using public buses running between Bangkok and nearby provinces from March 1-25, (the period before the State of Emergency).

  • 141,240 passengers per day taking buses between the capital and other provinces,
  • 9,128 using buses between provinces,
  • 2,379 using buses within a province.

Reports have revealed that after the emergency was effective across the nation from March 26 to May 1, there was a decrease in the number of passengers with 472,210 passengers per day travelling from Bangkok to surrounding provinces, 4,090 from the capital to other provinces, 5,612 on inter-provincial routes and 2,156 passengers between provinces.

After the lockdown was eased on May 2 up to today, the number of passengers has increased to 508,490 per day travelling from Bangkok to surrounding provinces, 6,000 from Bangkok to other provinces, 9,020 on inter-provincial routes and 4,020 passengers between provinces.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Business

Thai Airways files for bankruptcy protection

Maya Taylor

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Thai Airways files for bankruptcy protection | The Thaiger
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Despite Thai Airways issuing a press statement and taking to social media to deny rumours it intends to file for bankruptcy, various media reports appear to confirm the struggling carrier will file for Chapter 3/1 of the Corporate Reorganisation section of the Bankruptcy Act. This is the Thai equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.

TTR Weekly reports that the government has confirmed the national carrier will initiate restructuring steps in a bankruptcy court. This will involve a restructuring petition being filed by either the airline itself, a government agency, or creditors who are owed more than 10 million baht. Once the restructuring application has been approved, it means Thai Airways is protected from creditors taking legal action to recover payment. It’s understood the Thai government has been planning to tender a lifeline of over 58 billion baht in a combination of loans and direct cash to the ailing carrier.

According to a Reuters report, government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat has confirmed the plan, saying the airline is expected to file for bankruptcy tomorrow.

“The State-Enterprise Planning Office agreed in principle for the rehabilitation of Thai Airways in court. The procedure will be submitted to cabinet today (Tuesday).”

As recently as last night the airline has been denying the bankruptcy rumours, insisting a plan for reform submitted to the board was approved and would shortly be presented to Cabinet for approval.

“The plan will soon be presented to the Cabinet for further action. The Board of Directors made no resolution to file for bankruptcy as appeared in the news. Thai Airways again denies the bankruptcy rumours.”

It was also forced to refute long-standing rumours that all directors of the board, both past and present, along with their family members, are entitled to free first-class tickets for life.

“Thai Airways staff are not eligible for seven free tickets per year as claimed, and the Board members do not get free first-class tickets. Airline staff have the same basic welfare rights and travel incentives as normally provided by airlines around the world.”

SOURCE: TTR Weekly | Reuters

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