Fifty years of Thai Airways International (THAI) as a mechanism in the development of aviation industry and in the progress of the nation towards the new World Economic Order in Asia to become one of the top five airlines in the world.
Left: A long way in 50 years
Marking the celebration of the 50th anniversary of THAI, His Excellency Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, underlined the significance of THAI as the national carrier and the image of Thailand in terms of tourism and cultural heritage in his inaugural address at the international conference on “Asia: Beyond the Economic Horizon.”
In response to the recent economic crisis, which Thailand is still recovering from, the Thai government, through its past experiences, has been pushing a national economic development plan with clear goals and targets. He outlined four key factors that needed to be focused on for success: liberalization of international trade; drive and support from the private sectors; ability to manage and emerge from crisis; and good governance and participation of stakeholders.
Thailand needs to take advantage of the global economic trend shifting toward Asia, as seen from the recent recovery of the world economy of which Thailand and other ASEAN countries played a part. Such goals cannot be achieved without active collaboration and contribution from all sectors.
Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shared his vision on Asia and Thailand in the new World Economic Order and its relevance to Thailand and Asia. He stated that as the world economy is slowly emerging from its biggest economic crisis, that the recovery is still very fragile and is still uncertain. However, from this recovery we can envision important elements of new world economic order which may lead to a “grand re-balancing” in different areas. This is beneficial for planning important policies of the Asian nations, especially for Thailand. And it is clear that Asian nations will have greater roles in the new world economic order.
Dr. Panitchpakdi elaborated further on the “Grand Re-balancing” in areas of geo-political and economic influence, international organizations, economic policies and ideologies. Several samples were mentioned; for instance, Asia as a new growth centre, broadening of governance structures, rebalancing the roles of the market and the state, and rebalancing global economic rules. He emphasized the importance of Asian countries including Thailand to engage in this “Grand Re-balancing.” In the new World Economic Order, security and economic growth in Asia as well as investment in human resources will play a more prominent role in the world economy. Nevertheless, this also comes with important responsibilities, including addressing poverty, food safety and consumption, and response to global warming.
Furthermore, Dr. Ampon Kittiampon, Chairman, Thai Airways International stated that over the past 50 years THAI has played a crucial role in the national development of the tourism industry and aviation. The fundamental services of THAI include offering service from the heart and presenting Thai-ness, creating customer satisfaction. THAI is confident in maintaining its status in the top 3 airlines in Asia, and in reaching the top 5 status globally. In addition, THAI places great importance in its staff and works for the betterment of staff welfare. THAI is also a truly public organization, contributing to society through social activities and programs over the past decades and in the future.
Prepared by Harold Stephens, Travel Correspondent for Thai