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Transport Ministry in aviation talks with India

The Ministry of Transport is accelerating negotiations which would see Thailand increase India`s aviation privileges…

The Ministry of Transport is accelerating negotiations which would see Thailand increase India`s aviation privileges, while mooting the possibility of `open skies` agreements with the other nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Deputy Transport Minister Vichet Kasemthongsri announced today.

If the negotiations prove successful, Thailand will give aviation privileges to 18 Indian cities, in addition to the four cities which already receive such rights. A deal is expected to he reached by March, after which the Ministry of Transport will launch `open skies` talks in earnest with ASEAN member states.

Mr. Vichet expressed confidence that the talks would come to fruition by the end of the year, well ahead of the government`s initial 3-4 year target. Once the talks had been completed, Thailand would begin similar negotiations with countries outside the ASEAN grouping.

Thailand has to accelerate the launch of `open skies` policies with its allies, as airlines are currently a major concern. The near future will see the launch of a huge number of low-cost airlines. `Open skies` policies are in important way to attract foreign visitors to Thailand in increasing numbers. We also expect that in five years time, 20 million Thais will travel by aeroplane, he said.

The Ministry of Transport is also considering raising the minimum amount of registered capital required by airlines from Bt50 million to Bt300-500 million, in order to offer better consumer protection. (TNA)

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