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Airbus starts manufacturing new A220 in Alabama, US

Tanutam Thawan

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Airbus starts manufacturing new A220 in Alabama, US | The Thaiger

The new Airbus A220 aircraft was touring south east asian countries, including a visit to Bangkok on Friday, last week. Today the aircraft manufacturers officially began manufacturing the A220 in the US. The first team of A220 production workers began work at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama-based production facility. Some Thai-based airlines, including Thai Airways, are reported to be interested in the new small aircraft as an alternative replacement to some of their fleet.

The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market and is claimed to deliver unbeatable fuel efficiency and wide-body passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The new plane is just a fraction smaller than Airbus’ A320 and Boeing 373 designs and has a 3+2 seating configuration instead of the 3+3 in the other single-aisle aircraft.

The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With an order book of 551 aircraft as of end of June 2019, the A220 has all the credentials to win the 100-150 seat aircraft market, estimated to represent 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

Airbus is producing the first few aircraft within some existing A320 construction buildings and newly built support hangars. The first US-made A220, an A220-300 destined for Delta Air Lines, is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2020. By the middle of next decade, the Alabama facility will produce between 40 and 50 A220 aircraft per year.

The move of Airbus to construct some of the A220 family in the US follows trade disagreements between Canada and the US where the Trump government slapped a 300% tax on the Bombadier-derived C-Series. Airbus bought into the C-Series program with a joint venture, rebadged the plane the A220, ramped up its manufacturing facilities in the US and was then able to sell into the US aircraft market without the prohibitive tax (well that’s a short version of a much more complex trade story).

Airbus starts manufacturing new A220 in Alabama, US | News by The Thaiger

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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Singapore

Singapore aims for paper-less border arrival by 2021

Tanutam Thawan

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Singapore aims for paper-less border arrival by 2021 | The Thaiger

Singapore is extending its SG Arrival Card trial that will allow visitors to submit an electronic arrival card in advance to speed up processing at border checkpoints

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority has announced the beta trial of the SG Arrival Card project last week. The trial has been ongoing since last year and will phase out the paper arrivals card for a more efficient e-arrival process. The plan is to phase out the paper arrival system by 2021 by eventually extending the electronic arrival card system to all travellers.

The announcement says foreign visitors travelling with “selected transport operators” can now submit the electronic arrival card up to 14 days ahead of their arrival in Singapore. Singapore’s Today news service identified the selected transport operators that are participating in the beta trial version.

Airlines
AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines

Bus
Transtar Travel

Ferries
BatamFast Ferries, Bintan Resort Ferries, Horizon Fast Ferry and Majestic Fast Ferry

This means that they will only need to produce their passports for immigration clearance upon arrival, as ICA’s immigration system will already have the electronic arrival cards, which they submitted in advance.

The SG Arrival Card e-Service and Mobile Application is available as an e-Service at the ICA’s website HERE.

It can also be downloaded as a free mobile application from Apple App Store and Google Play.

Users of the mobile application will have the option of scanning their passport biodata pages and enjoy the convenience of not needing to key in the information manually. The mobile application will also save previously submitted information for use on subsequent trips to Singapore.

SOURCE: ICA and Today

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Thailand

Thai foreign minister criticises visa waiver proposal

May Taylor

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Thai foreign minister criticises visa waiver proposal | The Thaiger

The Foreign Ministry opposes the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to waive visas for Indian and Chinese tourists, calling it a “risk to national security”. The proposal was put forward at a meeting last Friday, as part of a series of measures to boost the economy through an injection of over 300 billion baht in tourism.

It would permit Chinese and Indian nationals to remain in Thailand for up to 30 days, 15 days without a visa, with hopes of boosting numbers from those countries. However, it could cost about 12-13 billion baht a year in lost visa fee revenue.

Approximately 11 million Chinese tourists will have visited by the end of this year, along with 2 million Indian visitors, and Indian numbers are expected to grow to 3 million next year.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Praramudwinai has written to the PM to oppose the plans, arguing that the visa stamp helps with visitor screening and national security.

With a population of more than 1 billion each, there is also concern about how Thailand would cope with a huge surge in Chinese and Indian visitors. The ministry argued that many may see it as a chance to escape hardships in their own countries.

Minister Don added that visa requirements are not solely to blame for an economy hampered by a strong Thai baht and the US-China trade war. He suggests that waiving visas for Indian and Chinese visitors could make managing tourist arrivals chaotic.

He voices concern that the Thai embassy in India has detected false documents provided by some visa applicants. However, an immigration officer at one of the country’s international airports was unconcerned about the proposal, saying Chinese and Indian tourists rarely overstay their visas.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Chinese and Indians to be offered visa free arrival for 15 days in Thailand

Tanutam Thawan

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Chinese and Indians to be offered visa free arrival for 15 days in Thailand | The Thaiger

The Tourism and Sports Minister says he’ll seek cabinet approval to offer visa exemptions to visitors from China and India for one year. Already Chinese tourists have a visa-on-arrival fees exemption. The current promotion is set to end on October 31 this year.

If the new visa exemption is approved by cabinet it will start on November 1 and run through to at least October 31, 2020.

The Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says the visa exemption will allow travel in Thailand for up to 15 days.

“Free visas is the ministry’s must urgent stimulus policy, without which tourism arrival growth might not reach our target,” the Minister told the Bangkok Post.

A slowing global economy and a strong Thai baht have put a small dent in the rise and rise of Thailand’s ‘teflon’ tourist industry this year. But the arrival numbers have mostly recovered after a sluggish April and May this year.

The numbers show that 19.76 million tourists arrived in Thailand for the first half of 2019, a small increase of just 1.48% compared to H1, 2018. But Chinese tourists declined by 4.73% over the same period with the nationalities taking up the slack – including India – up 24% compared to the first half of 2018.

The minister says he is confident the visa exemption will help boost the number of travellers from India to reach some 3 million next year and help to encourage Chinese tourists back as well.

Vichit Prakobgosol, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents says the visa exemption will bolster the number of inbound Indians and Chinese to Thailand and will be a significant boost in tough world economic conditions.

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