BANGKOK, 25 Feb 2014, - Thai AirAsia has announced it has no ties with the Shinawatra family while indicating political unrest had scared off many of its Chinese customers and forced the airline to postpone the debut of its low cost arm Thai AirAsia X.
The statement was made by the carrier’s CEO Tassapon Bijleveld who pointed out that Shin Corporation had a majority of its shares back in 2004 when the airline was launched, while today, Thai AirAsia is 55% owned by Asia Aviation, and 45% owned by AirAsia International. He stressed the transparency of the airline’s ownership and operations, saying the details can be examined if need be.
Mr. Tassapon said that the airline spent 5 years buying back shares from Shin Corp., now known as InTouch Group which also has no relationship with the Shinawatra family. He said the carrier managed to do so by registering itself in the stock market in order to raise funds to pay its debts.
Meanwhile, the CEO said that since the eruption of political turmoil 4 months ago, the number of Thai AirAsia’s Chinese passengers had dropped by 30%, adding that it is now focusing on the Indonesian market in order to compensate for the loss. Mr. Tassapon also said that the political dispute had forced the airline to postpone the debut of its low cost airline, Thai AirAsia X, which was originally slated for February to March.
Mr. Tassapon gave assurances however that Thai AirAsia X would be established within the year.
BANGKOK, 25 February 2014 – Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsonphaisan has revealed that the National Rice Policy Committee will propose that the cabinet disburse 10-20 billion baht from the central budget to mitigate the troubles of rice growers while the government was waiting for money from rice sale.
However, the Election Commission would have to approve such a move by the cabinet. This meant that the money might not reach the hands of the rice growers by the end of this week, as promised earlier by the government.
Mr. Niwatthamrong asserted the Ministry of Commerce would continue its effort to sell at least 1 million tons of rice per month, which would raise 8 billion baht per month for the payment to farmers.
In the meantime, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) is considering issuing 80 billion bath worth of bills of exchange guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance, to raise money to pay the farmers.
BANGKOK, 24 February 2014 – The Tourism Council of Thailand estimates that if the demonstration continues, there will be a constant decrease in tourists. The council projects a decrease of 1.1 million tourists, resulting in a loss of revenue for of the entire year of more than 90 billion baht.
Mrs. Pornthip Hirankate, Vice President of Marketing Department, Tourism Council of Thailand, said the political demonstrations, which have been going on for four months, have impacted tourism especially in the central areas of the city including Ratchaprasong, Pathumwan and Sukhumvit because they are rally sites and the traffic were closed so foreign tourists have avoided those areas.
The occupancy rates in the hotels situated in those areas have dropped to only 20-30 percent. Before, during a typical high season, the occupancy rate was 70-90 percent. It is expected that at the end of the first quarter, there will be a loss of revenue of about 50 billion baht. The decreased in tourists mostly come from China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan.
Mrs. Pornthip Hirankate added that now the number of foreign tourists travelling to Chiang Mai or Phuket has increased by 30 percent and some avoid staying in the center of Bangkok by turning to hotels close to the airport. Meanwhile, hotel and restaurant business sectors have started to adapt themselves in order to attract more customers.
BANGKOK, 25 February 2014 – The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Monday called on all parties to refrain from bringing children into protest areas, in order to prevent any more child injuries or deaths.
Phichai Ratchaphanthari, UNICEF's representative to Thailand, yesterday issued an announcement calling for all parties to avoid bringing children into demonstration areas, in order to prevent them from being harmed in violent incidents. The UNICEF called on the government, protest leaders, supporters of the two camps and parents to ensure that children do not stray near protest sites. The agency also proposed that rally sites should be 'child-free'. It also called on authorities to find the perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to justice.
At least 3 children have been killed in the recent spate of violent incidents occurring at or near protest sites, and two others have been severely injured.
BANGKOK, 24 February 2014 – The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has overturned its previous order to freeze bank accounts of 38 core leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
A letter signed by DSI Director-General Tharit Pengdit has been sent to executives of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) concerning the cancellation of the department’s request for financial records of 38 PDRC core figures and order to have their accounts frozen. The letter stated that transactions of those accounts would no longer be forbidden.
As explained by Mr Tharit, the Civil Court on February 17 issued a temporary injunction for PDRC core member Dr Seri Wongmontha against the asset freezing order. Therefore, in a bid to fully comply with the court’s ruling, the DSI has resolved not to freeze the accounts of 38 other protest leaders.
Among the 38 individuals is PDRC Secretary-General Suthep Thaugsuban, along with Mr Satit Wongnongtoey, Mr Chumpol Julasai, Mr Puttipong Punnakan, Mr Thaworn Senneam and Mr Ekkanat Prompan.
BANGKOK, 24 February 2014 – Despite a series of violent incidents, Miss Yingluck Shinawatra has ruled out resigning from her post as Prime Minister, raising a question whether or not her resignation is the answer to the conflict.
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been the target of anti-government protests, said it was time all sides involved in the conflict sat down and talked in order for the country to find its way out of the prolonged political stalemate.
In response to demands for her resignation, Miss Yingluck said stepping down from her post was not the ultimate solution to the political deadlock that has gripped the country for eight years.
Groups of protesters have been gathering in Bangkok and blocking key intersections, hoping to unseat Miss Yingluck and to erase the influence of her brother, former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is believed by many to be the real power behind Yingluck-led government.
BANGKOK, 24 February 2014 – The government has praised Mr. Teerasil Dangda, a Thai footballer, for his success after signing with UD Almeria in Spain. He will be moving to his new club next season.
BANGKOK 24 February 2014 — Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn is prepared to invite coalition parties to participate in a meeting which aims to resolve the South’s election problems.
BANGKOK, 24 February 2014 – The speculation over the transfer of US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney to South Korea has been disregarded as false by the US Embassy.
BANGKOK, 24 February 2014 – Pheu Thai Party is able to retain its seat in the Bangkok City Councilor’s by-election in Don Mueang district while the Democrat Party also retains its in Chatuchak area.