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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        1  February 2011

Delays do not trouble Thai airline

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President Tony Davis of Tiger Airways clarifed the Singapore-based airline's stance on the creation of Thai Tiger Airways (TTA) as speculation was mounting in Thailand that Tiger Airways would abandon the partnership with the Thai flag carrier.

Mr. Davis denied Tiger Airways was frustrated by the setbacks, largely requirements imposed by the Thai Transport Ministry on THAI.

"No, I'm not frustrated by the delays. I'm pragmatic, I have lived in Asia for seven years (and understand the bureaucracy)," he said.

He referenced the partnership with the Filipino budget airline, South East Asian Airlines (SEAir), in which talks dated back many years but the airline only materialised last December. Mr Davis confirmed Tiger Airways is prepared to extend the agreement for TTA, a 51:49 THAI-Tiger partnership.

The original memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up TTA was signed on August 2 last year in Bangkok and has been renewed three times despite an air of uncertainty about whether TTA would ever take off.

The Transport Ministry has required several modifications of the TTA plan, as THAI is a state-owned enterprise.

One element spurring opposition to TTA is the involvement of Temasek, the Singaporean government's investment arm, and Singapore Airlines, THAI's archrival, which is a partial owner of Tiger.

Temasek caused resentment in Thailand when the fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra sold it Shin Corp, the company Mr Thaksin founded, in a 73-billion-baht tax-free deal in 2006. Another key issue is TTA's accession to Thai domestic routes, normally reserved for Thai airlines, because it has at least 51 percent Thai ownership.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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