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Virgin Australia will fly again under new US ownership




Virgin Australia will fly again under new US ownership | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sydney Morning Herald
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Virgin Australia will reportedly grace the Australian skies again after a US company has bought it out. Bain Capital, a private equity group in the US, took over ownership after the struggling airline was unsuccessful in asking for Australian government bail out or loans. The second largest airline in Australia collapsed in April after struggling with long-term debt before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, knocking them out of the skies altogether.

Bain Capital reportedly supports the airline’s current management team and its turnaround plans and says it’s committed to retaining thousands of jobs by injecting a significant amount of capital to help its future.

The Australian government is undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief along with other airline officials as the US company has saved the airline from the government having to put its hands in its pockets and, worse, a Qantas monopoly.

When state borders reopen, both Qantas and Virgin Australia could possibly engage in a price war as domestic flights will likely be in demand as Australia is in its first recession in almost 30 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Virgin Australia is currently owned by a number of shareholders including Sir Richard Branson, Singapore Airlines, the UAE government and China’s HNA airline. The airline started up in 2000 just before the collapse of the other big airline brand at the time, ‘Ansett’ and quickly became Australia’s second largest airline brand to continue the duopoly with Qantas.


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My name is Anukul, I a writer for the Thaiger, I specialise in translation articles and social media, and assisting with our video production. I previously worked at Phuket Gazette and attended BIS international school in Phuket.


Special Tourist Visa – now officials want you to ‘quarantine’ in your home country before coming to Thailand

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Special Tourist Visa – now officials want you to ‘quarantine’ in your home country before coming to Thailand | The Thaiger

On one hand the Thai government unveils its big ‘plan’ for a Special Tourist Visa, allowing minimum stays of 90 days, extendable to 270 days (almost 9 months). On the other hand they have put up a list of restrictions that, at best, will severely restrict any return to ‘normal’ tourism in the country.

Apart from the local 14 day quarantine when they arrive, at their cost, there’s also a long list of paperwork they need to submit before being able to travel to Thailand. Then there’s the limitation to travelling to Thailand only on chartered flights or private jet. And once they’re out of quarantine, the tourists’ options are quite limited for now with the usual tourist spots of Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Samui mostly closed up with no tours in operation and most tourism-related businesses shuttered – a real ‘chicken and egg’ quandary for tourism officials.

Now, according to a report in Bangkok Post, Dr Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, a director at the Department of Disease Control, claims that foreign tourists will have to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to travel. Additionally… “they must also have quarantined in their country of origin, have health insurance for international travel and a specified minimum amount of money in their bank account”. He said they will also need a record of “not visiting crowded places prior to their departure”.

And during their domestic quarantine these “visitors must have been tested twice for Covid-19 at the beginning and end of the process”.

The Department of Disease Control has also said, broadly, that they will only allow people from “low-risk” countries to enter Thailand first, without specifying or providing a list of what those countries would be.

The department says they are also providing specific training for the general public and government officers “whose jobs place them in contact with foreign travellers”, so these STV tourists can probably expect an extra special socially-distanced and masked welcome.

Meanwhile, the Public Health ministry has revealed that 2,270 foreign tourists, from China, Myanmar, Japan and Kuwait, are already planning to visit Thailand under the provisions of the new Special Tourist Visa.

On September 15, the Thai cabinet agreed to allow in foreign tourists who agree to the mandatory 14 day quarantine with a minimum 90 day stay, extendable twice to a maximum of 270 days. The highly restrictive new visa, whilst at least a start, has not been well received.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

World Tourism Organisation reports on destinations re-opening to tourists

The Thaiger



World Tourism Organisation reports on destinations re-opening to tourists | The Thaiger

53% of the world’s tourist destinations have now started easing travel restrictions government’s imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – the claim from the UN World Tourism Organisation in its latest update on the state of the world’s re-openings in the Covid-era. The UNWTO acknowledges that many destinations “remain cautious” and some are even re-closing borders and tightening up restrictions again.

It’s the 7th edition of the “Covid-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism”and identifies an ongoing global trend to gradually restart the world’s tourism machine. The report analyses restrictions by governments up to September 1. The research covers a total of 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have now eased their travel restrictions – that’s an increase of 28 since 19 July. Of these, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says we must remain vigilant and cautious.

“We are concerned about those destinations with ongoing full travel restrictions, especially where tourism is a lifeline and economic and social development are under threat.”

The Covid-19 Related Travel Restrictions report also includes information collected on the health and hygiene infrastructure set up at the various destinations. Matching that with local reports of new Covid-19 cases, this allows UNWTO to determine the issues that are influencing local decisions to ease restrictions in the destinations.

One common denominator was that destinations which have started easing travel restrictions had high or very high levels of health care infrastructure and active programs in place for good community hygiene – wearing masks, access to hand sanitises, etc. They were also more likely to have comparatively low Covid infection rates.

• Another stand-out stat was that in advanced economies, 79% of tourism destinations had already started easing restrictions. In emerging economies, less than half, just 47% of destinations, have started the process.

• 64% of those destinations which have eased have a “high or medium dependence” on airlines to deliver international tourists to their location. Island destinations are particularly at risk at this time as the air lift is critical to their tourist success.

• 43% of all worldwide destinations continue to have their borders completely closed to all tourism, of which 27 destinations have had their borders “completely closed” for at least 7 months.

• Half of all destinations in the survey, with borders completely closed to tourism, are listed as being among the “World’s Most Vulnerable Countries”. They include 10 Small Island Developing States, one Least Developed Country and three Land-Locked Developing Countries.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili says…

“Coordinated leadership and enhanced cooperation between governments mean tourism is slowly but steadily restarting in many parts of the world.”

“Starting to ease restrictions on travel opens doors for tourism’s social and economic benefits to return.”

UNWTO notes that the re-opening situation is changing daily and that, even as tourism reboots in some regions, other destinations are re-closing borders or re-tightening restrictions.

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

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A new flaw detected on Boeing’s 787 as company’s problems mount

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A new flaw detected on Boeing’s 787 as company’s problems mount | The Thaiger

The problems at Boeing are starting to stack up, at a time when few airlines are ordering new planes and going through their current orders to see which order they can cancel. Boeing has now disclosed another problem with the construction of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft that could cause further delays on aircraft deliveries, and provide another headache for the beleaguered American manufacturer.

Boeing says the new problem affects the plane’s horizontal stabiliser, but only on planes that are yet to be delivered. The 787 horizontal stabiliser issue are not believed be a concern for safety but will affect future deliveries as it is sorted out anyway. In August the company grounded 8 of the 787 series planes over a problem that joined the parts of the 787’s main fuselage.

The company has already been unable to deliver back orders of its best-selling plane, the 737 Max, for 18 months. 737 Max jets, around the world, were grounded in March 2019 after 2 fatal crashes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, that killed 346 people.

Until recently, the 787 Dreamliner had been largely trouble-free (notwithstanding some early problems with its onboard batteries). It’s also been one of the only shining lights in a company hemorrhaging huge amounts of money as it battles its 737 Max groundings, a worldwide pandemic and a toxic relationship with the flying public who now openly question the safety of its aircraft.

The FAA says they are looking at whether 900 of the 787 Dreamliners, already delivered and in service. will need to be inspected due to manufacturing problems. Boeing reports that, other than the eight 787 planes already identified and grounded, the other 787s in service do meet the required specifications to continue to operate.

“We are inspecting production airplanes to ensure any issues are addressed prior to delivery. We are taking the appropriate steps to resolve these issues and prevent them from happening again. The FAA has been fully briefed, and we will continue to work closely with them going forward.”

The FAA say that they are working with Boeing to investigate the flaws and it was too early to speculate on what additional steps, if any, would need to be taken.

In addition to delayed deliveries of Boeing planes, there have been 445 orders for jets cancelled in 2020, though some of those cancellations are actually changes to other models.


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