‘Aviation woes must be fixed’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



ICAO’s regional director Arun Mishra, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn yesterday presided opening ceremony a conference “AOT’s Sister CEO forum 201

ICAO’s regional director Arun Mishra, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn yesterday presided opening ceremony a conference “AOT’s Sister CEO forum 201

THAILAND stands a good chance of benefiting from the explosive growth in air traffic over the next decade because of its geographic location, but challenges are holding the country back, according to an aviation expert.

Arun Mishra, regional director of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), expressed his optimism on Thailand’s aviation potential, but said the country had to fix the sector’s infrastructure and personnel shortcomings.

Mishra said Thailand needed the right mentoring to achieve that.

Last year, ICAO red-flagged Thailand, warning the world that Thai-registered airlines did not meet international standards.

Mishra said an ICAO safety team would soon be dispatched to Thailand to follow up on the country’s response to safety issues. ICAO also plans to provide more guidelines for the safety audit.

Mishra affirmed that Thailand’s aviation industry would get the support it needed to enhance its human resources and operational quality.

He said the global aviation industry faced many challenges but was experiencing huge growth. In India and China alone, more than 200 airports were expected to open in the coming decade whileAsean also needed more airports.

“Aviation is growing everywhere. However, the major problem is the lack of aviation infrastructure, which needs urgent development,” he said.

According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines worldwide carried 3.6 billion passengers in 2015 and 52.2 million tonnes of cargo. It forecast the number of passengers would more than double to 7.4 billion by 2034. Of the total, China will account for 1.19 billion passengers.

Speaking at the same aviation conference as Mishra, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith noted that there was growing interest in Asia among tourists from the United States and Europe.

He is optimistic the Asean Economic Community will drive aviation growth in the region under the common open-sky policy.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul focused her speech at the event on Thailand’s attempt to emphasise “quality tourism” including sport, cruises, community tourism, and weddings and honeymoons.

Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, president of Airports of Thailand, which hosted the event, promised to upgrade all six airports under the company’s supervision.

From 2009 and 2015, he said, AOT signed sister-airport agreements with 11 organisations that operate 15 international airports in Japan, China, South Korea, Germany and the United States for joint training and services.

“We will work together and improve our facilities for the long term. AOT has also been asked to lead the development of small airports in the region,” he said.

The six airports under AOT‘s supervision including Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang served 110 million passengers last year.

Nitinai said the slated upgrades would require a budget of Bt194 billion, enabling them to support aviation growth in Asean.

The best way to fly

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Emirates, says Skytrax 2016, is the World’s Best Airline.

Emirates, says Skytrax 2016, is the World’s Best Airline.

AirAsia fly an A320 into Farnborough Airshow for the Skytrax awards with the aircraft’s livery already showing “8-Time World’s Best Low Cost Airline” Award.

AirAsia fly an A320 into Farnborough Airshow for the Skytrax awards with the aircraft’s livery already showing “8-Time World’s Best Low Cost Airline” Award.

The World’s Best Cabin Staff from Garuda Indonesia entertain the audience with a traditional dance at the Skytrax Awards to celebrate their success.

The World’s Best Cabin Staff from Garuda Indonesia entertain the audience with a traditional dance at the Skytrax Awards to celebrate their success.

The President of Thai Airways (middle) shows off Skytrax Awards for World's Most Improved Airline and Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility.

The President of Thai Airways (middle) shows off Skytrax Awards for World’s Most Improved Airline and Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility.

Asian airlines once again dominate the categories in the 2016 edition of the Skytrax airline awards

The Asian aviation industry scored another major success last week, outperforming its European and North American counterparts at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2016.

The world’s best airline for this year is Emirates, according to the prestigious awards.

From ANA All Nippon Airways in the Far East to Qatar Airways in the Middle East, seven airlines from Asia dominated the Top Ten Airlines list for 2016, leaving the remaining three places for Turkish Airlines, Qantas Airways and Lufthansa.

The prestigious awards were presented at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK on July 12, rewarding industry members for their performance in such categories as “best cabin”, “best seats”, “best lounges” and “best regional airlines”.


The World Airline Awards are the primary benchmarking tools for passenger satisfaction levels throughout the world, according to Skytrax. This year’s awards were based on a total of 19.2 million completed surveys covering 280 airlines, by customers hailing from more than 104 countries.

Thai Airways International, which has been out of the Top 10 since 2012, has made something of a comeback, rising from No 19 to No 13. It was also named the World’s Most Improved Airline, which reflects how hard the company has worked to get its services back on track.

“These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Thai Airways International. They have devoted great attention to detail in providing service to passengers and showed their determination to better the airline to ensure improved customer satisfaction,” said THAI’s president Charamporn Jotikasthira.

The airline’s premium Lounge Spa facility in Bangkok was also honoured with an award for Best Airline Lounge Spa Facility.

Thailand’s flag carrier also looked competitive in the areas of World’s Best Cabin Staff (No 4), World’s Best Airport Services (No 4) and World’s Best Inflight Entertainment (No 6).

Bangkok Airways, a premium regional airline in Thailand, was named as the World’s Best Regional Airline for the second time. The carrier was also declared Best Regional Airline in Asia.

“As a Thai national carrier, we are extremely delighted and proud to have received the awards which truly reflect a higher level of service and safety standards in Thai aviation”, said Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways.

“And as a carrier, these achievements have fully manifested our continuous commitment to strive for excellence in airline services.”

Asiana Airlines Economy Class cabin achieved a clean sweep in winning the awards for World’s Best Economy Class, Best Economy Class seat and Best Economy Class catering. This was the second successive year the airline had secured the award for best overall Economy Class.

Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia achieved its most significant success securing the top prize of World’s Best Cabin Staff for the third straight year.

However, on the World’s Top 100 Airlines chart, Garuda Indonesia dropped from No 8 in last year’s survey to No 11.

And when it comes to the World’s Best Low Cost Airline, AirAsia continued to make it a one-horse race. So confident was it of earning the award that AirAsia flew its Airbus A320 at the Farnborough Airshow with “8-Time World’s Best Low Cost Airline” painted on its fuselage ahead of the announcement.

The airline’s confidence wasn’t misplaced, as AirAsia did indeed win World’s Best Low Cost Airline for the eighth consecutive year.

Star Alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance, and also secured the Best Airline Alliance Lounge award for the second successive year for its Los Angeles Airport facility.

“I am accepting this award on behalf of the more than 430,000 employees who deliver our customer promise to more than 640 million passengers each year,” said Mark Schwab, Star Alliance’s chief executive.

“Regaining this accolade shows that investing in technology, which facilitates the delivery of our Alliance customer benefits, is paying off and that travellers are noticing a difference.”


1 Emirates

2 Qatar Airways

3 Singapore Airlines

4 Cathay Pacific

5 ANA All Nippon Airways

6 Etihad Airways

7 Turkish Airlines

8 EVA Air

9 Qantas Airways

10 Lufthansa


New air traffic control system delays flights

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Don Mueang International Airport,

Don Mueang International Airport,

AIRLINES HAVE urged Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co (Aerothai) to improve its flight management system to avoid traffic congestion, after 85 flights were delayed at two airports yesterday morning.

A source at Thai AirAsia, a low-cost carrier based at Don Mueang International Airport, said some morning flights were delayed because of the implementation of the new flight management system. The airline, however, was eventually able to operate all flights and there were no cancellations, the source said.

“Some flights were delayed, but we didn’t cancel any flights. Thai AirAsia also reported the effect and problem back to Aerothai,” the source said.

The budget airline also urged Aerothai to improve its flight management in order to avoid traffic congestion and prevent chaos at airports in the future.

The source said Aerothai had informed all airlines operating at Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports about the use of the new flight management system, but it did not warn of possible delays or resulting problems.

Some Thai AirAsia and Nok Air passengers travelling from Don Mueang to the provinces yesterday morning said they were worried about the delay but went ahead with their travel as scheduled.

Officers at both Thai AirAsia and Nok Air said passengers who had booked tickets had called in and asked about flight operations. The airlines advised passengers to reach Don Mueang no less than two hours before their departure time.

A total of 85 flights at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports were delayed yesterday morning following the implementation of new aviation rules.

Aerothai vice president Tinnagorn Choowong said that at 7am yesterday, the revised area navigation (RNAV), standard instrument departure (SID) and standard terminal arrival route ( STAR ) were implemented with the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

The first flights to land at the airports – Bangkok Airways Flight BKP100 from Samui to Suvarnabhumi Airport and Thai AirAsia Flight AIQ 3036 from Phuket to Don Mueang – were subjected to the new rules.

Tinnagorn said in a statement that due to the new procedures as well as the weather conditions at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the arrival/departure frequency was extended from two minutes to four minutes to allow officers to familiarise themselves with the new rules. This led to a delay of an hour on average for flights between 8am and 9.45am.

Fifty-one flights were affected at Suvarnabhumi Airport and 34 at Don Mueang.

“The situation is expected to return to normal at noon today,” Tinnagorn said.

Global air passenger traffic up 7.1% in January

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



PETALING JAYA – Global passenger traffic, as measured by revenue passenger km (RPKs), grew by 7.1 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in January 2016

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement that January capacity rose 5.6 per cent, resulting in a 1.1 percentage point increase in load factor to 78.8 per cent. This was the highest load factor ever recorded for the first month of the year.

RPK measures actual passenger traffic, calculated by multiplying the number of paying passengers by the distance traveled.

Load factor is the percentage of available seat-kilometres used.

IATA director-general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite the recent turmoil in equity markets.

“The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth,” he said.

Asia-Pacific accounted for the highest world share (31.5 per cent) of total passenger traffic last year in terms of RPKs.

January international passenger traffic rose 7.3 per cent in January 2016 compared with a year earlier. All regions recorded y-o-y increases in demand.

Asia-Pacific carriers registered a jump of 10.3 per cent compared with January 2015. Capacity rose 7.6 per cent, pushing up load factor 2 percentage points to 79.2 per cent.

“A 7.3 per cent increase in the number of direct airport connections within the Asia region over the past 12 months or so has helped to stimulate demand,” IATA said.

Domestic air travel, meanwhile, rose 6.8 per cent in January y-o-y.

IATA represents some 260 airlines, which account for 83 per cent of global air traffic.

Thailand suffering from shortage of pilots for rainmaking efforts

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



THAILAND is suffering from a shortage of rainmaking pilots, as many have landed higher-paying jobs at commercial airlines, said Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department chief Lersak Riewtrakulpaiboon.

This has prompted the agency to analyse manpower and review salaries to boost job security and advancement for rainmaking pilots to prevent a worsening of the shortage, he said.

“A rainmaking pilot is a profession that requires aviation expertise, sometimes even more so than commercial pilots because they fly the planes into the clouds which is more dangerous than flying away from the clouds as the commercial pilots do,” Lersak said.

The department has 41 aircraft (34 planes and seven helicopters) but there are only 53 pilots. Lersak added that the department needed to add another 43 pilots.

Meanwhile, the manager of security at the Bangkok Aviation Centre, Nimit Khraikratok, said the school graduated 300 to 400 pilots per year to staff both domestic and international commercial flights. Given the phenomenal growth rate of the commercial aviation industry, that graduation rate was considered far too low.

As Thailand joined the Asean Economic Community this year, there has been a goal to establish the country as a hub for international commercial flights, which could exacerbate the shortage of commercial pilots.

Nimit said the situation could worsen in the next three to five years given the low number of new pilots entering the in-dustry, adding that a contributing factor was the high tuition fees of Bt2.5 million to Bt3 million. He recommended that state agencies get involved to address the pilot shortage.

IATA warns BKK airport a safety risk

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



File Photo

File Photo


THE INTERNATIONAL Air Transport Association (IATA), which groups together more than 400 airlines worldwide, has warned that Suvarnabhumi Airport is a safety risk due to unresolved “soft spots”.

In an interview in Bangkok yesterday following his earlier visit to Singapore’s Airshow and Aviation Leadership Summit, Tony Tyler, director-general and chief executive officer of IATA, said Suvarnabhumi has a major role to play regionally and globally because it handles more than 52 million passengers annually.

However, he said Thailand’s biggest international airport now has significant safety issues.

“The terminal capacity needs urgent expansion. It was designed to handle 45 million passengers annually, but it exceeds that today and traffic is still growing at an annual 10 per cent rate.”

“Overcrowding is a serious issue that will become critical quickly,” Tyler warned. “There are also safety concerns on the airport’s tarmac, taxiways and apron area because of soft spots. Aircraft get stuck in the soft surface due to substandard materials,” he said.

Tyler, who met Transport Minister Arkom Termpitayapaisit on Wednesday, suggested that Thai authorities should quickly resolve the “soft spots” issue permanently by using concrete instead of temporary asphalt patchwork.

“Frankly, that’s not good enough … the runway and gate downtime that results from constantly fixing and re-fixing the soft spots is unacceptable. Literally, nothing less than a concrete solution will do. Extraordinary power that aircraft need to use around soft spots and extra-towing expose ground personnel, equipment and aircraft to safety risks,” he explained.

The IATA chief also said that Thailand needs to quickly start construction work on the second phase of Suvarnabhumi’s expansion, which has been delayed for years as the government has focused on reviving the Don Mueang airport and expanding the U-Tapao facility.

Regarding the runway at Suvarnabhumi, Tyler said immediate increase in capacity can be achieved by addressing the soft spots but the airport would eventually need a third runway.

In addition, the country needs a long-term master plan for airports, after consultations with all stakeholders.

Tyler said Suvarnabhumi should be improved first, as it is Thailand’s major gateway.

Citing inefficiency and connectivity issues, he also expressed concern about plans to disperse air traffic among Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports.

Meanwhile, Tyler also urged the government to make all Thai-registered airlines to undergo the IATA’s Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). At present, only Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion and Orient Thai go through such an audit.

According to Tyler, mandating IOSA for all Thai carriers would send a strong message to the international community that the country is serious about its commitment to international safety standards.

Thai aviation authorities have been busy upgrading the country’s regulatory capacity for airlines following last year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s red flag.

Later, the US Federal Aviation Administration also downgraded Thailand’s status to Category 2 in its international aviation safety assessment, putting more pressure on the country to overhaul its regulatory system for airlines following decades of rapid growth in the aviation and tourism sectors.


Nok flights cancelled as pilots go on strike

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9 flights affected after protest on safety upgrade; meeting today to discuss the crisis.

NOK AIR was forced to cancel nine flights yesterday after a group of pilots, who failed to meet the new safety standard upgrades, went on strike, affecting scores of passengers.

Nok Air’s chief executive officer, Patee Sarasin, said the airline would take responsibility for the passengers affected by the strike. “Considering it was a weekend, the airline decided to cancel the flights and affected passengers will either be offered alternative flights or a refund.”

He said 10 pilots staged the protest, as they were unhappy with the airline’s safety upgrade to meet the standards set by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

“Following the new safety standard, the pilots in question were disqualified because they did not meet the EASA guidelines and measures,” he said.

“We did not know about the strike before. However, the cancelled flights account for only about 10 per cent of the 200 flights we operate each day,” Patee said.

The airline will hold a meeting today in order to settle the problems, he said, adding the meeting will also consider whether pilots who staged the strike should be dismissed. “The strike severely tarnished the airline’s image and is not acceptable,” Patee said.

The flights that were cancelled included those from Don Mueang International Airport to Khon Kaen, Hat Yai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Ubon Ratchathani and Chiang Mai. At first, the airline claimed the cancellation of flights was caused by a technical problem.

Some passengers were alerted about the incident via telephone and thosewho had already arrived at the airport were assisted by airline ground staff.

Patee said there would be no cancellation of flights today as the airline now has a back-up plan to deal with the problems.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpitayapaisith told reporters in Singapore that the strike would not affect Thai aviation safety issues. He said it was an internal problem and not a safety issue. Arkhom is in Singapore to attend the Singapore Airshow – Asia’s largest aviation conference scheduled for today until Wednesday.

Complaints from Nok Air passengers flooded its Facebook page for cancellation of flights without prior notice. They complained that the cancellation had led to them wasting time and money. “Flying with Nok Air is risky… their credibility is lost,” a passenger wrote on its Facebook.


‘Child angels’ can fly as passenger luggage

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



“Child angel” dolls are pictured at a house that sell the dolls in Nonthaburi, Thailand, January 26, 2016. A craze for lifelike dolls thought to bring good luck is sweeping Thailand, reflecting widespread anxiety as the economy struggles and political u

No compromise on safety following international safety and security rules, say aviation officials

THAI AUTHORITIES have announced a set of guidelines for all airlines and airports regarding the treatment of the controversial Luk Theps or superstitious “child angel” dolls, based on international safety and security rules.

Chula Sukmanop, director-general at the Airport Department, said the guidelines are aimed at ensuring safety and security for all passengers. All airlines and airports will be required to immediately follow these rules. This follows recent uproar over the carrying of Luk Theps aboard a domestic Thai airline.

Luk Theps are dolls that undergo sacred rituals, and are believed to be “child angels”.

These dolls have raised concerns about aviation safety as passengers are allowed to buy tickets for the dolls and carry them onboard.

Following consultations with representatives of 9 airlines and airports, including the six major airports operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT), the authorities have issued guidelines:

The so-called child angels must be declared by owners as luggage or belongings of travelling passengers so they can buy tickets for extra seats at a regular price for the dolls, similar to extra seats for valuable belongings such as guitars and other musical instruments or expensive handbags.

Once the passengers and their dolls are on board, the dolls must be stored in the overhead locker or under the passenger’s seat while the plane prepares for take-off and landing.

However, passengers may negotiate with aircrew whether to carry or store the dolls elsewhere but this must not violate international safety standards based on Article 69.

Airport personnel are authorised to inspect the dolls as weapons, flammable and other dangerous objects, which are prohibited on board, could be hidden. If passengers refuse to allow an inspection, they will not be allowed to board the plane.

According to Chula, passengers can still buy extra tickets for their dolls and bring them on board as long as they follow these safety rules.

In the event that these dolls have some seeds or pieces of meat or other stuffs, which may be problematic upon landing in some foreign countries, he said passengers who carry the dolls and related stuffs would be held responsible.

A representative of Bangkok Airways was worried that a large number of transit international passengers may need some advice about this issue, while a senior executive of Nok Air said some passengers had carried dolls onboard without facing any problem.

Pratana Patanasiri, the vice president for safety, security and standard at Thai Airways International (THAI), said the airline has been following international safety and security standards and passengers are allowed to buy extra seats if they want to.

Woranate Laprabang, chief executive officer of Thai Smile Airways, the sister airline of THAI, said it follows all safety standards. Earlier, Thai Smile had circulated an internal letter on how to treat these child angels, saying it was the first airline to allow passengers to buy tickets specifically for these superstitious dolls.

Meanwhile, a resort in Sakon Nakhon province yesterday issued a statement that it would not allow customers with these dolls to stay so as to avoid disturbing other guests.

Pol General Dejnarong Suthichan, chief spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, said dolls are not a problem but authorities need to stay vigilant as narcotics and other illegal stuffs could be hidden inside the dolls. About 200 yaba pills were found in a “child angel” doll at Chiang Mai airport on Tuesday.

At this stage, there is no additional instruction for police as far as this issue is concerned, he said, adding the child angel dolls are currently popular among believers but it is likely that it is a passing fad.

“We will not get involved with individuals’ beliefs. The possession of the dolls is a basic right of the people but authorities are empowered to investigate if there were illegal stuffs hidden,” he said.

PM’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said the National Office of Buddhism is investigating a ritual performed by a monk at a Buddhist temple in Nonthaburi province, which reportedly consecrated a doll as a child angel.