Thailand News Today | Domestic airlines allow in-flight meals
Bringing you the latest top stories in Thailand beyond. My name is Jett Gunther and in our first story, The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has given airlines the green light to serve food and drinks again on domestic flights in Thailand, effective immediately.
The original rationale was less about the food itself and more about the use of face masks. But obviously, face masks must be removed to eat or drink, and so I’ll be nibbling on my cookie for the duration of the flight.
The CAAT didn’t say why they had chosen to lift the food and drink ban now, but it doesn’t seem to be related to Covid-19 case numbers.
However, Covid prevention measures must be lifted at some point for Thailand’s budget airlines to stay afloat. Snacks and drinks are included in the price of a Thai Airways or Bangkok Air flight ticket, but budget airlines such as Nok Air, Thai VietJet, Lion Air and Thai AirAsia depend on the sale of in-flight food and drinks as a large source of their overall revenue.
So if you’re going to take a domestic flight in Thailand anytime soon, you can support Thailand’s budget airlines by buying an in-flight meal and a justification to take off your mask.
With tourists slowly returning to Thailand, airlines are fighting to stay afloat as they battle soaring operating costs, especially with the high price of fuel, and are calling for government assistance.
The surge in passengers this month and over this 5-day weekend may not be enough to offset the coming low season after over 2 years of limited travel during the pandemic.
The cost of petrol is one major factor, with fuel accounting for 35% of airline operational costs, up from a maximum of 30% before. And while oil prices are beginning to creep down a bit, those price changes will take longer to affect the airline industry. The lowered value of the baht also affects operating costs and fuel costs.
Flights are more full this week, hitting 70% of capacity, fueled by the 5-day holiday and people trekking to religious sites for Buddhist Lent tomorrow. Areas like Hat Yai, Phuket, and Ubon Ratchathani – where a candle festival is held each year to mark the start of Buddhist Lent – are attracting large amounts of air travellers.
Airlines are asking for government support as they pull out of the pandemic and are already working with the TAT to promote travel. They have been adjusting their flight schedules to match the travel demand. The aviation industry has suggested a reduction in flight taxes and fees like landing taxes and parking fees for planes.
But the days of super-discount flights are gone, at least for now. With fewer flights operating, there are fewer total seats available, and airlines just can’t afford to sacrifice them with deep-discount promotions. Airlines are stuck between rising operating costs and cutthroat price battles with each other as budget carriers like Thai Lion and Nok Air fight for customers.
Move Forward city councillor Arnuparb Tarntong has been released on 100,000 baht bail today after reporting to the police to recognise charges of sexual assault that have been made against him by four teenage girls.
Police informed Arnuparb last night that two 16 year olds and two 18 year olds had accused him of inappropriate behaviour and had to appear at Thung Mahamek Police Station.
The 38-year-old was later taken to Bangkok South Criminal Court where police applied to further detain him.
The court approved an application for release on bail with a surety of 100,000 baht on the condition the councillor for the Sathorn district kept away from the witnesses and did not leave the country.
Arnuparb, one of 14 Move Forward candidates who won seats in the Bangkok council election on May 25, denies the allegations.
Thung Mahamek police chief Pol Col Kritsada Manawongsakul said the alleged incidents took place on Monday, July 11, when he invited the four teenage girls for drinks at his condominium in the Sathorn district.
Move Forward Policy Minister for Bangkok, Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, admitted yesterday that there appear to be grounds for the charges.
Wiroj stated the party would be conducting its investigation and if found guilty the disciplinary committee could take action against Anuparb.
Arnuparb is the second politician this year to find himself accused of sexual assault. The other is Prinn Panitchpakdi, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) yesterday reported former Deputy Leader of the Democrat Party, Witoon Nambutr, could face prosecution for allegedly demanding 30 million baht in backhanders related to a state utility construction project in 2013 and 2014.
Department secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol revealed the commission found grounds for the allegations against Witoon, a former Democrat MP for Ubon Ratchathani when he served as a member of a House committee scrutinising a budget bill for 2014. He added more details will be provided soon.
Niwatchai made known the department is also investigating another four government officials for wrongdoing related to the 30 million baht utility construction graft.
Witoon quit the Democrat Party in January last year saying he felt unappreciated and overlooked for senior positions.
From December 2008 to February 2009 he served as Social Development and Human Security Minister in the Abhisit Vejjajiva government but resigned after being implicated in a case that saw rotten canned fish distributed to flood victims in Phatthalung.
At the time Witoon denied any wrongdoing.
A new survey has seen Thailand climb into the top 10 best countries to live for expats.
A survey by InterNations, in the Expat Insider 2022, revealed Thailand has climbed six places to No.8 in the top 10 countries to live for foreigners from last year’s 14th place. But it’s not all good news for the expat community in the Land of Smiles. Thailand ranked low in administration and performed poorly in the working abroad category.
Berlin-based InterNations, which has an expat community of more than 4 million members, surveyed foreigner life in 52 destinations and gathered answers from about 12,000 members worldwide.
The study asked their expat community how satisfied they were in their respective country of residence with their: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, and Personal Finance.
Thailand ranked No.4 in the Personal Finance Index, No.11 in Ease of Settling, 18th for Expat Essentials, and 35th in Quality of Life. The kingdom’s Working Abroad ranking at No.45 dragged down the overall score. But mostly, 77% of foreigners in Thailand say they are happy with their life compared with 71% elsewhere.
Thailand ranked 14th in 2021, and in 25th place out of 64 destinations in 2019. In 2020, when InterNations ranked cities, Bangkok came 20th out of 82 destinations.
The top three destinations in the survey saw Mexico as the No.1 nation, Indonesia as No.2, and Taiwan in third. Those three nations scored high for Ease of Settling In and Personal Finance. The rest of the top 10 saw Portugal in fourth, followed by Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore.
The bottom three were Kuwait No.52, then New Zealand, and Hong Kong, who all performed poorly in terms of personal finances for expats.
Thailand came first in the housing subcategory, with those taking part in the survey admitting their accommodation as both affordable.
Some 85% of Thai foreigners revealed their disposable income allows them to lead a comfortable life. Thailand ranked No.3 for the general cost of living at 71%.
Thailand ranks low, however with the low availability of government services online 43% of expats are unhappy. Some 51% revealed they find it difficult to deal with the local bureaucracy and authorities.
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