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ROAD TO RECONCILIATION
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AseanAffairs Magazine September - October 2010
CONTENT • BEYOND ASEAN 
• ASEAN BAZAAR • ASEAN TALK
ASEAN AVIATION • INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN ENERGY • OPINION
• ASEAN TRAVELLER • SAVE OUR PLANET MALYSIA

Thai Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva

Four months on in the reconciliation process Asean Affairs examines the progress and shortcomings of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s plan to bridge

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Teerapol  Chotichanapibal

Teerapol Chotichanapibal, 53, Acting Executive Vice President of THAI Airways International, has been with the carrier since 1 November 1983. He was educated in the United Kingdom, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from the University College of Wales and a master’s degree in operations research from the University of Southhampton. He has served in the roles of supervisor, director and Vice President.The Corporate home of Thai Airways International in Bangkok

 

Thai Airways flight on its way to Europe

REBOUNDING AHEAD OF THE MARKET 

FOLLOWING DECLINES IN TRAFFIC DUE TO NATURAL AND POLITICAL EVENTS, THAI AIRWAYS MOVES AGGRESSIVELY FORWARD.

              It has been a difficult year for all airlines but especially for Thai Airways International. Thailand’s government-owned (51 percent) airline not only had to tend with the calamities that affected every other airline, such as the volcano ash hovering over Europe, but with homegrown political protests and the subsequent travel warnings issued by various foreign governments.

Helping steer THAI through this difficult period was Acting Executive Vice President Teerapol Chotichanapibal. By mid-year, however, THAI seemed to be putting the difficult days behind it with a number of new initiatives and promising developments.

In rapid succession these were: financing was obtained to buy and lease new aircraft, a substantial foreign exchange gain helped the airline avert a substantial loss in the second quarter (the period when both the protests and the Iceland volcano erupted), in preparation for the high tourist season, frequencies on its European, Australian and regional routes were announced,

a joint venture with budget airline Tiger Airways was finalized, and the purchase of seven A330 Airbus planes was made with talks beginning on the possibility of acquiring six additional A380 superjumbos.

Looking ahead, Mr. Chotichanapibal observed that the “volcano caused difficulties for all airlines. They’re trying to forget it and we are also.” In terms of the negative impact of Thailand’s political protest that ended tumultuously on May 19, he said air traffic volume was returning quickly. A part of the decline in air traffic during the two-month protest could be attributed to the travel warnings issued by foreign governments.

When these warnings are issued, it is nearly impossible to purchase travel insurance or too expensive for tour operators to purchase, which deters travelers, he said.

With the increase in air traffic comes the inevitable rise in the price of jet fuel. How are airlines preparing for this natural development?

Mr. Chotichanapibal said he could not speak for all airlines but THAI uses a three-way collar to guarantee the fuel price in a certain range. The system is a form of hedging. A major issue in the airline industry is the effect of low-cost airlines on the traditional carriers. Mr. Chotichanapibal stated that the main impact on THAI from the budget carriers was that it lowered the growth potential...........






    

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