BKK Weather 33C
SET Index: 1412
Battle for Bangkok Governor – Pheu Thai executive committee unanimously decided to field Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen as candidate in the election. Mekong River Commission – what is it good for? Temple rally fizzles.
French warplanes attack in Mali. Huge Paris protest against gay marriage. US influenza epidemic widens. Egypt court orders Mubarak retrial.
-DREAMLINER SAFETY: The US Federal Aviation Administration will undertake a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems, “including the design, manufacture, and assembly,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner will address the issues in a press conference today. The review is in addition to a US National Transportation Safety Board probe of the January 7 fire that the agency said caused severe damage to the battery pack area of the 787 after passengers disembarked in Boston following a flight from Tokyo. A couple of jets were grounded last month by a power fault which Boeing said this week it had traced to flaws in power panels.
The 787’s use of lithium-ion batteries sets it apart from other models. Boeing got regulators’ permission to use the batteries in the jet in 2007, 3 years after passenger planes were barred from carrying non-rechargeable types as cargo. Only those batteries can provide a high-energy start and be recharged quickly to meet the jet’s needs, Mike Sinnett, the Chief Engineer for the Dreamliner, said this week. The battery has “robust protection” against charging and discharging too quickly, since both are dangerous, he said.
All new jets have introductory pains the first year or two, Sinnett said. The 787’s performance since entering service in 2011 hasn’t been any worse than that of the 777, which made its commercial debut in 1995 and is one of Boeing’s most popular models, and has been better than other wide-body jets, he said.
-M23 EVENT SPACE OPENS IN BKK: The newly-opened M23 event space at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld is designed as an intimate setting for business meetings and receptions, seminars, and golf.
Covering more than 1,000 square meters, the space is divided into four natural day-lit boardrooms offering dramatic views of the city skyline, and with a class/board room capacity from 18 to 50.
Along with its meetings facilities, M23, on the 23rd floor of the hotel, has its own reception area; open show kitchen and bar that caters for coffee breaks, luncheons, and social events; and a 50-meter-long, open-air patio with a putting green.
“With M23 we really have a new and exciting style of meeting space in Bangkok,” said Chris Bailey, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts, “This is perfect for smaller events, where there is a high degree of social involvement, and along with the tailor-made catering arrangements and the opportunity to practice your golf swing, the views of Bangkok from the 23rd floor are magnificent.”
-TAT’S AMAZING I-SAN FAIR 2013: Long overlooked by the international tourism industry, Thailand’s northeastern region, called “Isan” by Thais, is being given a major boost with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) collaborating with travel trade partners to promote the destination by organizing Amazing I-San Fair 2013. The fair will be held during January 24-27, 2013, at Plenary Hall, Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
There are more than 60 operators participating in the fair including travel agents, airlines, accommodations, and producers of local handicrafts. The travel fair is aimed at increasing tourist traffic from Bangkok and other provinces to Isan.
For decades, Isan was perceived as a remote, underdeveloped area that held little tourism appeal. Things began to change as the region’s transportation network expanded in the 1980s and a number of historical sites and nature reserves opened up to the public. In recent years, the Northeast has seen an influx of domestic and foreign travelers going for its unspoiled nature and chic resorts. It is also the main gateway to the many wonders of the neighboring countries of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
In 2011, there were more than 26 million visitors to the Northeast (+15.86% over 2010), more than 95 percent of whom were Thai tourists. In 2013, TAT expects the number of domestic trips will increase to 115.36 million trips and generate 537,800 million baht.