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Talks scheduled in wake of PC Air fiasco

The Department of Tourism, part of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, next week will hold talks with the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to seek ways to work together to secure the tourism-industry outlook.

The move came after troubled PC Air recently left 456 Thai passengers stranded at Incheon International Airport in Korea, posing a threat to the tourism industry's image and travellers' confidence.

Anuparp Kasornsuwan, the Tourism Department's deputy director and also acting director-general, said a memorandum of understanding on the joint effort would make clear the roles of the two state agencies. Up until now they have worked independently, though some events have been of concern to both. As a result, solutions have not been of enough practical use to the people affected.

However, he partly put the blame for this on legislative barriers that do not allow the two agencies to work on problems effectively.

Under the proposal, the DCA should provide information to the public on airlines. Also, it should keep airlines' standards high to ensure passenger safety on every trip.

PC Air is a case study. The Korean-based airline has only one aircraft for charter flights between Seoul and Bangkok. Safety risks could emerge if the plane is worked too hard.

Although the DCA has the power to ground an airline when troubles occur, this does not seem a productive solution. Such a move would create a wider impact on the industry.

Anuparp said his department would also define clearly its role in controlling travel agencies. They will be registered legally so the department can check background information to prevent problems.

Also, both parties will discuss the cost of damages, to make clear whose responsibility these will be in the future.

Anuparp acknowledged that the department had trouble solving problems efficiently as it has to involve other state agencies, including the ministries of Interior and Commerce.


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