Archive for the ‘air travel’ Category

Escape to Malaysia

November 29, 2008

Bangkok airport siege day 4: We’ve now hatched a plan to travel down to Malaysia by road and catch a flight from Kuala Lumpur.

The situation is as deadlocked as ever with both sides deeply entrenched, and the army seemingly unwilling to do the PM’s bidding and get heavy with the protestors.

The staff and management here at the Pakasai resort in Krabi have been incredible, helping in every way, including booking our flights from KL and tomorrow driving us the four hours to the border to meet our coach – everything done with friendliness and good humour. All those clichés about Thai hospitality are true.

The tourist trade is being hit heavily, to the tune of millions of dollars a day. Visiting the Maritime Park & Spa Resort today, the owner, Khun Pimrapee (who owns four resorts including this place) told me occupancy at the Maritime is booked for around 80% – but it’s currently under 30%.

There are an estimated 100,000 people stranded in Bangkok.

An airport for the 21st century?

November 6, 2008

It is disheartening to hear the politicos bickering, agonising and tying themselves in knots over Heathrow expansion.

In all those tiger economies of the east, they’ve not dithered for years about tacking extensions onto a creaking 70-year-old airport in the middle of town. They’ve just gone ahead and built a brand new multibillion-dollar showpiece somewhere else.

Why can’t we do that? Why does everything we do have to be so shoddy and ‘make do’?

What is so outlandish about building a new airport in the Thames estuary? It’s the kind of thing they do everywhere else in the world.

The business travel community tends to view situations from a global outlook. The tussling over ‘slots’ and the extraordinary levels of congestion in the sky and on the ground looks terribly rickety and old-fashioned compared to what’s going on in the near and far east.

Then there’s all the talk of closing Heathrow and putting the thousands of people – who live in the area and service the airport – out of work. Why? With the steady growth of air travel – which seems to continue despite economic cycles and fuel price fluctuations – there’s enough planes wanting to fly in and out of London to justify both the airports.
Perhaps the pressure could be eased on Heathrow – less early morning/late night flights, less CO2-spewing stacking in the skies, less queues, less delays. Does this really sound so terrible?

I know there’ll be a million good eco-arguments against building in the Thames estuary, but if not out to sea, then where? There are an equal number of arguments against Heathrow expansion, and I don’t see how a new train link to Manchester or wherever is going to solve the problems of the world’s busiest hub.