Archive | February, 2016

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THAI sets B2bn ‘retiree’ plan

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

Thai Airways International posted a 13-billion baht loss for 2015 and set aside another 2 billion to encourage more staff to quit and cut losses further in 2016. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) has earmarkedł billion baht for voluntary staff retirements this year as the airline posted a net loss of 13.04 billion baht for last year.

THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira revealed that net losses were lower than theŁ5.6 billion baht in 2014 due to reduced fuel costs, curbs on expenses and foreign currency exchange gains.

Mr Charamporn said THAI will proceed with implementing its cost-cutting measures including a voluntary retirement programme to manage manpower affected by a reduction of flights and routes. About 2 billion baht has been set aside for the programme this year.

Last year, a total of 1,401 staff joined the programme which cost the company 3.38 billion baht.

He said total revenue was 192.6 billion baht – 1.2% lower than last year mainly due to a 1.5% reduction in passenger revenue and 21% decline in cargo revenue.

The main reasons were a reduction in the fuel surcharge, a strengthening of the baht and fierce competition.

He said THAI has implemented the transformation plan since the first quarter of 2015 to curb losses by reducing flight frequencies, discontinuing non-profitable routes, cutting unnecessary costs and boosting revenue by adjusting its sales strategies and enhancing the competitiveness of its services. The transformation plan was approved by the State Enterprise Policy Committee on Jan 26 last year.

Mr Charamporn said the airline’s five business units dealing with passenger services, ground service, repairs and maintenance, warehouse service and the airline’s kitchen must come up with cost-cutting measures by comparing their management costs with those of rival airlines so the carrier can reduce its overall costs to compete with them.

He also said the cabin factor, or the number of seats sold out of the total number of seats available, is also forecast to rise to 80% in 2016 from 72.9% in 2015, as THAI plans to launch new routes to Russia, China and Southeast Asia this year, and resume flights to the US next year.

THAI is one of several state-controlled companies that have been undergoing an overhaul since the military seized power in May 2014.

Mr Charamporn said THAI received delivery of eight new aircraft and decommissioned 15 aircraft following the fleet strategy that cut its fleet to 95 aircraft, effective Dec 31, 2015, which was down from 102 aircraft in 2014.

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Government to harden migrant watch

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

These two Cambodian fishermen were chased and caught by police and Koh Kut residents after the attacks on the four French tourists. The five detained men re-enacted the crime Monday as a hostile crowd of local people watched. (EPA photo)

Authorities will toughen measures to monitor migrant workers from neighbouring countries in the wake of the rape and assault of French tourists in Trat on Saturday night, deputy national police chief Pongsapat Pongcharoen says.

Five Cambodian fishing crew members were arrested on Sunday for allegedly raping two French tourists and attacking two other male tourists who tried to help the women on the resort island of Koh Kut.

The suspects — identified as Thi, 20, Bot Man, 20, Yim, 25, Pai, 22 and Jern, 25 — were believed to have swum to shore from their anchored fishing trawler and carried out the attack about 1km from a resort where the four tourists were staying.

Pol Gen Pongsapat said Monday the five suspects confessed to carrying out the attacks, which they allegedly said was due to them being intoxicated.

The injured French tourists are now in a safe condition, he said, adding the French embassy has been contacted to notify the victims’ relatives about the incident.

Pol Gen Pongsapat said national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda had instructed his deputy Wut Liptapanllop to investigate whether other accomplices were involved, and provide assistance to the victims.

He said all suspects had been cooperating with investigators.

Cambodian suspects re-enacted their alleged attacks on tourists on Koh Kut on Monday. (Photo by Jakkrit Waewkraihong)

He said most crimes against foreigners were found to have been committed by migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Officers will have to intensify measures to keep tabs on them.

The measures include checks on whether they have criminal records, Pol Gen Pongsapat said, adding the information could lead police to suspects when crimes occur.

Pol Gen Chakthip said cases in which� migrant workers come ashore to commit crimes have occurred before and police were able to catch the suspects.

“Police have always made full efforts to ensure security for both Thai and foreign tourists,” the police chief said.

“However, regarding what happened over the weekend, police will look into what may have been loopholes that allowed such an attack to take place.”

Meanwhile, police on Monday brought the five suspects to re-enact the crime on a road leading to a resort in Ban Khlong Hin where the assault took place.

About Ȓ officers, defence volunteers and rescue workers were called in to ensure security at the re-enactment after a crowd of locals turned up.

The suspects were divided into two groups. One group re-enacted the attack on a 57-year-old woman and another on a 25-year-old woman.

A villager breached the security line and punched one of the suspects in the face while the suspects were being brought back to a pickup truck, prompting officers to quickly whisk them away.

A tourist police officer in charge of Koh Kut has been transferred in the wake of the attacks.

Pol Maj Kittiwut Putnual, of the Tourist Police Division’s Sub-Division 2, has been moved to the division office as he failed to quickly report the incident to his superiors, Pol Gen Pongsapat said.

He said a probe will be carried out to find out whether officers in the area were negligent in their duty, which allowed the attacks to take place. The number of police could be increased to help tourists, he said.

Chuchart Srisaeng, a former Supreme Court judge, wrote on Facebook the suspects could face a maximum punishment of life in prison if found guilty of attempted murder and gang rape.

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41-year-old woman found strangled to death at home

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

According to police, the woman’s body was found by her 15-year-old junior high school daughter when she returned home from school at about 7 p.m. Saturday, Fuji TV reported. The woman was lying on her side on a sofa bed, covered up to her shoulders with a blanket.

The woman’s daughter called 119. The woman was confirmed dead at the scene, police said, adding there were strangulation marks on her neck. There were no signs of a break-in or a struggle in the room, police said.

Police in Tama, Tokyo, are investigating the murder of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in his condo on Saturday night. (Japan Today) Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday that a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant shut down automatically after problems with a generator and a transformer triggered alarms, just three days after the reactor was rebooted. (Kyodo) Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. (Japan Today) Akita Prefectural Police have arrested a 64-year-old woman for the murder of her female acquaintance in Katagami City eight years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 29). (Tokyo Reporter) Emperor Akihito, 82, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said in Tokyo on Monday, without giving further details. (Asahi)
New security methods, including a facial recognition system and drones, were employed in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. (Jiji Press) Police in Tokyo’s Taito Ward said Sunday that a 41-year-old woman was found strangled to death at her apartment on Saturday night. (Japan Today) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided not to field a candidate in a House of Representatives by-election to fill a seat vacated by a party Diet member who resigned over infidelity, an LDP source said. (Japan Today) Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, pulling ahead of Kenya’s Dickson Chumba inside the final two kilometers to claim his first major marathon win. (Japan Today) A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed on a street in Fukuoka on Saturday night, police said Sunday. Police identified the victim as Hikaru Kitagawa, a prep school student, Fuji TV reported. She was stabbed in the neck and face, police said. (Japan Today)


Article source: http://newsonjapan.com/html/newsdesk/article/115483.php

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New security methods introduced in Tokyo Marathon

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

Following the terrorist bombings on Boston Marathon in April 2013 that killed three people and injured about 150 others, the organizer of the Tokyo event began to strengthen security measures from the 2014 race.

Major Japanese security service firm Secom Co. offered its face authentication system for Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon.

The system takes photos of competitors’ faces and their numbers at the entrance gate, and checks them against photos registered in advance. It was used for about 900 runners, or 2.5 pct of all competitors.

Police in Tama, Tokyo, are investigating the murder of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in his condo on Saturday night. (Japan Today) Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday that a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant shut down automatically after problems with a generator and a transformer triggered alarms, just three days after the reactor was rebooted. (Kyodo) Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. (Japan Today) Akita Prefectural Police have arrested a 64-year-old woman for the murder of her female acquaintance in Katagami City eight years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 29). (Tokyo Reporter) Emperor Akihito, 82, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said in Tokyo on Monday, without giving further details. (Asahi)
New security methods, including a facial recognition system and drones, were employed in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. (Jiji Press) Police in Tokyo’s Taito Ward said Sunday that a 41-year-old woman was found strangled to death at her apartment on Saturday night. (Japan Today) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided not to field a candidate in a House of Representatives by-election to fill a seat vacated by a party Diet member who resigned over infidelity, an LDP source said. (Japan Today) Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, pulling ahead of Kenya’s Dickson Chumba inside the final two kilometers to claim his first major marathon win. (Japan Today) A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed on a street in Fukuoka on Saturday night, police said Sunday. Police identified the victim as Hikaru Kitagawa, a prep school student, Fuji TV reported. She was stabbed in the neck and face, police said. (Japan Today)


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Emperor Akihito diagnosed with influenza

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

Akihito will rest at his residence in the Imperial Palace.

Born in 1933, Akihito was heir to Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japan fought World War II. His heir is Crown Prince Naruhito, age 56.

The soft-spoken Akihito has often urged Japan not to forget the suffering of the war and has tried to promote reconciliation with Asian countries.

Police in Tama, Tokyo, are investigating the murder of a ǹ-year-old man who was stabbed to death in his condo on Saturday night. (Japan Today) Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday that a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant shut down automatically after problems with a generator and a transformer triggered alarms, just three days after the reactor was rebooted. (Kyodo) Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. (Japan Today) Akita Prefectural Police have arrested aೀ-year-old woman for the murder of her female acquaintance in Katagami City eight years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 29). (Tokyo Reporter) Emperor Akihito, 82, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said in Tokyo on Monday, without giving further details. (Asahi)
New security methods, including a facial recognition system and drones, were employed in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. (Jiji Press) Police in Tokyo’s Taito Ward said Sunday that a 41-year-old woman was found strangled to death at her apartment on Saturday night. (Japan Today) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided not to field a candidate in a House of Representatives by-election to fill a seat vacated by a party Diet member who resigned over infidelity, an LDP source said. (Japan Today) Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, pulling ahead of Kenya’s Dickson Chumba inside the final two kilometers to claim his first major marathon win. (Japan Today) A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed on a street in Fukuoka on Saturday night, police said Sunday. Police identified the victim as Hikaru Kitagawa, a prep school student, Fuji TV reported. She was stabbed in the neck and face, police said. (Japan Today)


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Akita woman arrested in murder of female acquaintance 8 years ago

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

On December 14, 2007, the body of Ryuko Kobayashi, who was 55 years old at the time, was found lying face-up inside the living room of her first-floor residence, located in the Itagawamachi area, by her eldest son.

The neck of her body contained markings consistent with strangulation by a cord. The cause of death was ruled to be suffocation.

At a press conference held on Sunday, police announced the arrest of Haru Hayama on charges of murder. “I don’t clearly remember such thing at that time,” the suspect is quoted by police in denying the allegations.

The eldest son had been unable to contact his mother for a three-day period prior to the discovery of her body. Upon his arrival at the residence, its interior had not been ransacked, no valuables stolen and the doors were locked.

Police in Tama, Tokyo, are investigating the murder of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in his condo on Saturday night. (Japan Today) Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday that a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant shut down automatically after problems with a generator and a transformer triggered alarms, just three days after the reactor was rebooted. (Kyodo) Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. (Japan Today) Akita Prefectural Police have arrested a 64-year-old woman for the murder of her female acquaintance in Katagami City eight years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 29). (Tokyo Reporter) Emperor Akihito, 82, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said in Tokyo on Monday, without giving further details. (Asahi)
New security methods, including a facial recognition system and drones, were employed in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. (Jiji Press) Police in Tokyo’s Taito Ward said Sunday that a 41-year-old woman was found strangled to death at her apartment on Saturday night. (Japan Today) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided not to field a candidate in a House of Representatives by-election to fill a seat vacated by a party Diet member who resigned over infidelity, an LDP source said. (Japan Today) Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, pulling ahead of Kenya’s Dickson Chumba inside the final two kilometers to claim his first major marathon win. (Japan Today) A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed on a street in Fukuoka on Saturday night, police said Sunday. Police identified the victim as Hikaru Kitagawa, a prep school student, Fuji TV reported. She was stabbed in the neck and face, police said. (Japan Today)


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3 ex-TEPCO execs indicted over Fukushima nuclear disaster

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

The three, who were indicted on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury, are Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, chairman of TEPCO at the time, and two former vice presidents-Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69.

At the six-reactor plant located on the Pacific coast, tsunamis triggered by the massive earthquake on March 11, 2011, flooded power supply facilities and crippled reactor cooling systems. The Nos. 1 to 3 reactors suffered fuel meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing the No. 1, 3 and 4 units.

The indictment will bring the question of whether the key TEPCO figures should be held criminally responsible in the nuclear disaster to court.

The trial is expected to be long, and is unlikely to start by the end of the year, as preparations to compile evidence and points of issue apparently require a considerable amount of time, sources familiar with the case said.

All the former executives, who were charged without being taken into custody, are likely to plead not guilty, the sources said.

Police in Tama, Tokyo, are investigating the murder of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in his condo on Saturday night. (Japan Today) Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday that a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant shut down automatically after problems with a generator and a transformer triggered alarms, just three days after the reactor was rebooted. (Kyodo) Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. (Japan Today) Akita Prefectural Police have arrested a 64-year-old woman for the murder of her female acquaintance in Katagami City eight years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 29). (Tokyo Reporter) Emperor Akihito, 82, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said in Tokyo on Monday, without giving further details. (Asahi)
New security methods, including a facial recognition system and drones, were employed in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. (Jiji Press) Police in Tokyo’s Taito Ward said Sunday that a 41-year-old woman was found strangled to death at her apartment on Saturday night. (Japan Today) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided not to field a candidate in a House of Representatives by-election to fill a seat vacated by a party Diet member who resigned over infidelity, an LDP source said. (Japan Today) Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, pulling ahead of Kenya’s Dickson Chumba inside the final two kilometers to claim his first major marathon win. (Japan Today) A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed on a street in Fukuoka on Saturday night, police said Sunday. Police identified the victim as Hikaru Kitagawa, a prep school student, Fuji TV reported. She was stabbed in the neck and face, police said. (Japan Today)


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Kansai Electric’s reactor shuts down 3 days after restart

Posted on 29 February 2016 by admin

The alarm was triggered when the power firm was preparing to start generating and supplying electricity after the No. 4 reactor in Fukui Prefecture reached criticality, or a state of sustained nuclear chain reaction, on Saturday following its restart the previous day.

The reactor was deactivated after the automatic alarm system prompted 48 control rods to be inserted. There is no problem with the reactor’s cooling system and has been no environmental impact from the incident, the company said.

Police in Tama, Tokyo, are investigating the murder of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in his condo on Saturday night. (Japan Today) Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday that a reactor at its Takahama nuclear plant shut down automatically after problems with a generator and a transformer triggered alarms, just three days after the reactor was rebooted. (Kyodo) Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. (Japan Today) Akita Prefectural Police have arrested a 64-year-old woman for the murder of her female acquaintance in Katagami City eight years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 29). (Tokyo Reporter) Emperor Akihito,೒, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said in Tokyo on Monday, without giving further details. (Asahi)
New security methods, including a facial recognition system and drones, were employed in this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. (Jiji Press) Police in Tokyo’s Taito Ward said Sunday that a 41-year-old woman was found strangled to death at her apartment on Saturday night. (Japan Today) The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided not to field a candidate in a House of Representatives by-election to fill a seat vacated by a party Diet member who resigned over infidelity, an LDP source said. (Japan Today) Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia won the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, pulling ahead of Kenya’s Dickson Chumba inside the final two kilometers to claim his first major marathon win. (Japan Today) A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed on a street in Fukuoka on Saturday night, police said Sunday. Police identified the victim as Hikaru Kitagawa, a prep school student, Fuji TV reported. She was stabbed in the neck and face, police said. (Japan Today)


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Chinese visitors alarm

Posted on 28 February 2016 by admin

Post Today photo, POSTgraphics

Concerns from locals about the influx of Chinese tourist vehicles in the north of Thailand have prompted authorities to step up measures to bring them under control.

The concerns have been mounting after the Chinese New Year holiday early this month when a large number of camper vans and private vehicles from China were found entering the northern border provinces.

It was reported on social media that several accidents took place involving cars that had Chinese licence plates, probably because the drivers were not familiar with local traffic rules. A video clip showing a car with a Chinese licence plate on the wrong side of the road, moving against the traffic flow, was circulated.

Pictures of camper vans — spotted in the northern cities of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Phayao — have been shared on social media, not for the large number but because of inappropriate behaviour by the visitors.

In some circulated pictures, Chinese families are seen cooking by their camper van parked at a temple. In Bangkok, some of the vans are found parked in prohibited areas.

This raised controversy over the state policy to boost tourism through open access for Chinese self-driven caravans into Thailand despite the lack of measures to cope with the growing number of tourists and vehicles.

The worries prompted the Land Transport Department (LTD) to launch a draft regulation to regulate tourists’ vehicles temporarily entering the country for tourism. The draft will be discussed with state agencies including customs, the Immigration Department, traffic police, and the Tourism and Sports Ministry early this week, said LTD director-general Sanit Promwong.

Under the draft, the vehicles which will be allowed to enter Thailand include passenger cars with no more than nine seats (including the driver’s seat), pickup trucks that weigh no more than 3.5 tonnes, and motorcycles.

Each vehicle will need to register for at least 10 days through local tourism business operators prior to entry. Passports, international driving licences, car registration documents and itineraries will also be required. Entry will be limited to 30 days, with a 500 baht fee for cars and pickup trucks and 200 baht for motorcycles.

Motorists who do not have an international licence usable in Thailand must pass driving and traffic rules training at the local LTD office first.

Most Chinese vehicles enter the north of Thailand via the fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge that connects Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district with Laos’ Ban Houayxay — about 411km, or a six- to seven-hour drive to the Chinese border town of Jinghong.

Jirayut Boonsong, 41, a Chiang Khong resident, complained there are more and more vehicles from China entering Chiang Khong even outside the holidays.

“Local people have complained a lot about road safety issues, as many Chinese tourists break traffic rules. They questioned how government officials allow many foreign vehicles to pass through immigration when the drivers are not aware of local regulations for road safety.”

Mr Jirayut once almost clashed with a Chinese vehicle as it suddenly appeared in his lane. He was able to veer his car away.

While residents have become more concerned about road safety and inappropriate behaviour, local business operators complain they do not earn anything from these tourists as they only eat at restaurants and stay in hotels that are run by Chinese people.

After entering Chiang Khong district, Chinese motorists take so-called Road 3 Asia, known as R3A, out of the province for their journey elsewhere in the country.

The road, officially opened in 2008, starts in Yunnan and enters Thailand at Chiang Khong district. According to Chiang Khong Customs, the number of vehicles entering the Chiang Khong border quadrupled from 3,117 in 2013 toಌ,103 the following year.

The new Highway R3A from Yunnan province has brought large numbers of Chinese tourist to upper Thailand to see the “white temple” at Chiang Rai and other sites. But many are witless drivers with no knowledge of Thai road rules. (Post Today photo)

In January this year, 6,970 Chinese tourists entered Thailand through Chiang Khong and Chiang Sean immigration. During the peak season, from Feb 1-22, 24,057 Chinese tourists and 4,421 vehicles entered Thailand.

“Tourism growth forced us to welcome Chinese vehicles even though the two counties have no agreement for the free passage of vehicles,” said Pol Col Nattharit Pinpak, superintendent of Chiang Khong Immigration.

Currently, Chinese drivers who want to enter Thailand via Chiang Khong customs must present documents to prove they own the vehicles, show their registration papers, driving licences and other documents. They have to attend a 15-minute training session on Thai traffic rules.

By contrast, Thai vehicles entering China face a much more complicated process. Driving permission and licences must be requested from the Chinese government three months in advance. Itineraries must be submitted and strictly followed. Deposits must be placed during entry at Chinese immigration which are returned to the vehicle owner when leaving China. Despite the influx of Chinese caravans, local operators reap few benefits.

At the Chiang Khong entry point, the immigration office can earn 1,000 baht for a short-term tourist visa with 15 days’ validity. Some insurance companies sell insurance for 400 baht per vehicle.

“We don’t see any benefits from opening up the roads to the Chinese,” said Surapol Temsawasdi, vice chairman of Phayao’s Chamber of Commerce.

He said he suspected tourism is a secondary purpose for some Chinese visitors and sizing up prospective business opportunities is their main priority.

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Mending Nok Air’s broken wings

Posted on 28 February 2016 by admin

Since mid-February, Nok Air has cancelled numerous flights, issued several contradictory stories, and now faces deep-rooted problems to try to return to normal. (Bangkok Post photo)

The current fiasco at Nok Air has opened a can of worms, showing chronic and significant problems that are tough to crack.

In the eyes of many airline professionals and leaders, the SET-listed budget carrier has already crumbled due to the scandal involving its disgruntled pilots that led to a mass cancellation of flights since Valentine’s Day and left thousands of passengers in the lurch.

The resignation of಑ pilots that followed the Feb 14 work stoppage by about 10 pilots and Feb 25′s announcement to extend the cancellation of the airline’s own flights to March 10 from March 1 further showed the depth of the troubles at the airline.

The story so far is just the tip of the iceberg and there is no assurance that the situation will get better before it gets worse, according to industry executives with knowledge of Nok Air’s operations who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Given the magnitude of the problems, further flight cancellations and pilots calling it quits cannot be ruled out as the airline’s business takes a plunge due to a battered image in the eyes of consumers.

There is the issue of deep-rooted dissension between Nok Air management and many cockpit staff, charges of nepotism and questions about pilot loyalty to the organisation.

Pilot resignations at Nok Air are common because of the working environment, and airline executives say more could join the exodus at any time.

A similar episode occurred a few years ago when a dozen Nok Air pilots resigned en masse to join rival Thai Lion Air, an arm of Indonesia’s Lion airline group, during its formation.

With a shortage caused by the fast expansion of the aviation industry in Thailand, pilots are in strong demand, affording them the opportunity for better pay and career advancement.

The rapid expansion of Nok Air services has reportedly led to its pilots secretly doing extra flight work in excess of legal limits — an issue exposed by disgruntled pilots but denied by the airline.

There are just under 200 pilots working at Nok Air, considered too few for the scale of its operations.

In its 2015 financial report released last Friday, the airline acknowledged that the turnover of cockpit staff had exceeded the normal rate and went well beyond what the airline had expected.

If pilots are working beyond legal limits, an allegation now under scrutiny by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, Nok Air could be at risk for safety issues. That would further aggravate Thailand’s aviation safety regime, which has been red-flagged by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Leadership at Nok Air is another key issue, as chief executive Patee Sarasin would need to become more actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the airline.

The war of words between Mr Patee and Nok Air Captain Sanit Khongphet, who was dismissed for his walkout, only added insult to injury.

Those words and confusing media statements regarding the troubles are also damaging the airline’s reputation, making its recovery even harder.

Nok Air will need to come clean about any problems and devise a comprehensive corrective action to solve its problems.

What is immediately required is for Nok Air to scale down the business to match available cockpit manpower.

It must work to retain existing pilots while recruiting replacements and even sourcing them from overseas, including North America and Europe, where the supply of pilots is still plentiful.

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