Lagoon Air 'Bangkok Thailand'

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Lagoon Air is an odd story of an airline, founded in early 2020 just before things in the world went haywire for the majority of the year 3 old Airbus A320-200s where parked in the brand new hangar at Don Mueang International Airport. For a while it seemed like the pandemic had killed the airline before it ever flew, but then some weeks ago things suddenly got busy with staff arriving and the lights being turned on 24/7 at the hangar. Then early September 2 brand new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft landed within minutes of each other taxing over to the hangar area of Lagoon Air. A day later a banner was erected on the hangar with the company name on it.

Throughout all this time however it remained unclear who actually owned the airline, it was a private company, owned by a company registered in the Netherlands, which was in it’s turn registered in Lichtenstein and there the trail would seem to end, though if one would be able to look further there would be links to a few more companies before it would end up in Stockholm of all places. This last one might explain the the white haired woman who has been seen around a lot and to whom people seem to be listening.

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Her name is Kajsa Tova which roughly translates to Pure Thunder and it would seem most people considered her to be just as dangerous as whatever she wanted done would get done by the mostly Swedish staff. That staff however was slowly being expanded with locally hired personnel starting for the more basic jobs, but the companies website now has job vacancies across the entire organization open. As is common in aviation the leading company language is English, though it is clear the staff uses their own languages whenever they can and desire to do so.

With a fleet of 7 aircraft the airline finally commenced operations on September the 8th with one of the A330-900neo’s departing for Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Other routes scheduled are to the trio in south east china, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. When approached about future plans the company stated that it does not talk to the media unless pre-scheduled by the company and that any and all new routes and other announcements would be made in due time.

A final point of note was made by a plain spotter who noticed that the aircraft of Lagoon Air do not follow the Thai registration system and instead are marked with a prefix of LA- which seems to be followed by 3 alphanumerical aircraft type code and then a 2 alphanumerical ID code for the aircraft. For example the first Airbus A330-900neo is registered as LA-A39A1 with the second being LA-A39A2. While it remains unknown how the airline managed to make this happen, the fact that they are allowed to fly with these registrations would indicate they are legitimate.

Current livery with massive thanks to Sprint:

Lagoon_Air 752 livery cropped - Copy


For this RP anything that is posted like this is to be considered publicly available information, anything posted in italics is just internal information this is so you all can enjoy the madness that goes on within Lagoon Air :slight_smile:

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It is late night when the white Boeing 757-200 comes down hard onto the runway to break through the standing water of the heavy rain. The taxi to the gate is short and not much later a tug pulls it to the Lagoon Air hangar for the night. The doors open the bright lights shining outside as the plane is pushed into the hangar after which the doors close and only a few windows on top let out the light. Staff is seen leaving the site as there is a window of about 4 hours in which nothing really happens for Lagoon Air.

Inside the hangar there are a number of offices on the sides and higher up leaving the floor space as open as possible. Inside one of them sat Kajsa seemingly bored as she was sipping from a glass and throwing some darts at a board. A rapid knock on her door seemed to break her bored trance, “Ja.” (yes) she said and the door opened showing Staffan, “Lasten är här” (The cargo is here) he said, “Bra.” (good) Kajsa said getting up her feet and then drowning what was left in her glass before following Staffan down to the hangar with a simple elevator.

Two full containers where unloaded from the planes hold and parked on the floor as staff got to work and opened them up to check the contents. Inside where plain brown carton boxes and each would be unloaded and check and Kajsa walked over with Staffan as one of the staff cut the tape to open the box, inside was a load of iPhone boxes, Staffan grabbed one and tossed it to Kajsa, “They are getting better at this by the month.” Kajsa grinned as she looked at the box, “I wouldn’t pay a 100 bucks for a real one and these idiots pay 200 to 500 for a fake one.” she shook her head and tossed it back to the staff member who put it back into the box and resealed it.

Both Kajsa and Staffan then made way for the staff to do their work as they observed, “Half this shipment will depart for Amsterdam tomorrow on the morning flight, the rest is going to be a mix of local and local area export. I also talked with one of our contacts and he has the links to a good load of premium headphones, bit more bulk and lower margins on those, but also less attention on them so should be a bit easier to move.” Staffan briefed Kajsa, “Good at this rate it will not be long before we get more contacts to work with and broaden our markets. Also did you deal with that issue we had?” Kajsa would look at Staffan intently.

Staffan nodded, “Yes it has been dealt with, they understand now we do not accept just anything and if we pay for quality we demand quality.” he replied, it had been a rather fatal mistake by some, but such was life and if they wanted to make this business work, this where the unfortunate incidents that one needed to deal with. Kajsa would seem pleased with the answer, “Glad to hear it, take care of it all I am heading home.” she said and made her way to the parking garage they had build into the larger hangar complex/office space. Not much later a Volvo V90XC left the airport.

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Trip report Amsterdam Schiphol to Bangkok Don Mueang with Lagoon Air.

The world has gone to shit we all know that, but at least some flights are still going despite it all which is helpful when you do need to get around. Yesterday I took a flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok on the new carrier Lagoon Air which was founded just before things seemingly went to hell and had to delay its operations quite a bit. For the flight they use an Airbus A330-900neo, brand new leased from Airbus who are no doubt happy to sell or lease anything at all. The plane was all white all the company is still to decide on the branding of it’s planes or so I was told.

The interior of the plane however was something else and felt quite science fiction with lots of indirect calming lighting and LED lighting integrated into chairs and what not in a subtle way that just gives it this space ship feel. At the front of the plane there are 6 full on first class suites and these are priced accordingly, followed by private era business class seats before you reach the premium economy section followed by normal economy, but of which have clearly comfortable seating (with I must say surprising excellent entertainment systems which seemed to be equal across the classes), but still very much the economy option. For myself I was lucky to find a deal on a business class seat, not a window one sadly, but in the center.

The seat itself was made from a lovely blue/greenish leather I guess to resemble the look of a perfect lagoon. It came with the mentioned entertainment system and a full array of power options and headphones. To add to this the seats where both heated and cooled, as we all know aircraft cabin temperatures often leave a lot to be desired so this goes a long way to make your flight more comfortable. A full comfort kit was supplied with the seat which I also had spotted on even the economy class seats and later I learned from talking to the flight attendants that the level of service was equal across all classes so you really pay for the extra comfort of your seat and well there are relatively more staff per person in the higher classes, with a single attendant for example focusing just on first class.

The upside of low flying activity is a lower chance for delays and the push back and take off all happened in short order. Their safety briefing was the usual mandated information, but they added a bit of flair to it, using the lighting and sound system of the plane to get people to pay attention along with giving a few handy extra trips, almost like they watch a certain youtube video. Once airborne service stated and I could enjoy the wide range of free drinks and the all of the free snacks and excellent meals they offer on the flight, seriously if you can eat all they offer you on a flight, I got massive respect for you. Of course it all comes with a Thai flavor to it, but that is hardly a bad thing, I was told that they fly in fresh ingredients to be turned into meals at their destination for the return flights. Any allergies of dietary request also are not an issue as you can pres elect any meal and snack you fancy.

I must admit their staff is an interesting bunch, mostly Thai people, but also some Swedish people in the mix. All of them are dressed in black uniforms with pants no skirts to be found and these uniforms have some silver accents to them, the black masks they wear complete for a nearly perfect ninja look. A bit of a strange sight at first, though I am sure the kids will lot it and really for myself I didn’t mind once you get over the first shock. They all speak good English and the service is excellent and friendly, though there is a bit of a distance they maintain and I am not just talking covid here. I think it might have to do with the Swedish roots of the owner and their way of doing things, it is actually quite nice again once you get used to it all.

I did play around with the entertainment a little, but I spend a good potion of the flight asleep under the provided blanket with my seat on a soft heat. So entertainment wise I cannot say much, except that it all seemed excellent with many streaming services on order, which reminds me the planes have free wifi onboard as well.

Overall it was a great flying experience with a few quirks that one can get used to easily enough. I do wonder if they plan to keep the masks post covid, but either way I clear recommendation from my part.

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In the tradition of remaining low key none got any word about not did the company release a press release when the first of their Boeing 757-200s rolled out in the new paint scheme along with the new logo for the airline. The modern retro livery however was captured by a few aircraft spotters both at Bangkok DMK and Taipei TPE airports.

Lagoon_Air 752 livery cropped - Copy

Word from the locals is that they are quite proud of the livery and logo and are happy to see it continuing to proudly name the city and country where Lagoon Air is based making it as much an advertisement for those as the airline itself. The only person from the airline we found to comment was one of the senior Swedish pilots who stated he thought it was a nice clean livery that doesn’t over complicate matters much like good Swedish design.

Meanwhile it seems the airline is doing well, in Toulouse France a Airbus A330-900neo has also been spotted rocking the new livery as it is undergoing it’s final checks before delivery. Airbus commented the airline has 2 outstanding orders for the type, though currently no other orders are in the system, but talks are being held. However with the current economic climate it remains uncertain whether the airline will even be able to commit to new orders.

Meanwhile over in Seattle Boeing made it clear that Lagoon Air was keen on both the 777X program and the idea of the Boeing 797 which could be a Boeing 757 replacement. Lagoon Air has been buying up Boeing 757-200s whenever it is able to use on their short and medium haul routes stating that the price and capabilities of the type remain highly appealing, but the age shows in high maintenance costs and fuel burn, both issues the airline would like to address. One of our contacts however told us that Lagoon air is also considering the Airbus A321neo(LR) series as a possible future replacement for when the 757 is no longer economically viable.

In the mean time it seems the airline itself while keen on new planes is focused on the used market for it’s expansion for the increased operating costs are mostly offset by the lower acquisition cost and the fact that it often takes far less time to get an used plane outfitted for service, versus getting new planes delivered specially with the downturn in production from both Boeing and Airbus. Again though these are all just third party sources with the airline itself remaining tight lipped about their actual plans.

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Kajsa sat in her office checking some files on her PC thanking whomever it was for the invention of air conditioning with the 90% humidity outside. A rappid knock on her door broke her focus, “Come in.” she said looking at the door to see whom it was. Staffan poked his head in, “Köpte du en concorde?” (Did you buy a Concorde?) he asked seeming more than a little surprised. “Ja, är det här?” (Yes, is it here?). Kajsa replied with a grin, when she got the chance to buy one she had jumped on it, the marketing potential was massive.

Staffan shook his head as he spoke a confirmation, but just couldn’t believe it, “Ja det landade och det beskattas till hangaren.” (Yes it landed and is taxing to the hangar). Kajsa hit the lock on her PC as she stood up, “Låt oss se den senaste fågeln.” (Well let’s see this latest bird.) she said and walked out with Staffan following her as they left the suspended offices to get onto the walkway in the top of the hangar to look down as a Concorde was indeed just parking up outside. It was already repainted through the normally thick grey stripe was much thinner as the aircraft needed to be mostly white.

Staffan looked at it still not really wanting to believe the boss would buy such an attention grabbed, “Jag måste ställa två frågor: Varför? och hur mycket?” (I have to ask two questions: Why? and how much?) he asked as a tug was put in position to push the plane into the hangar. “Det kommer att vara bra för marknadsföring. När det gäller priset var det cirka 16 miljoner dollar.” (It will be great for marketing. As for the price it was around 16m Dollar.) Kasja replied and the pair would soon be in a discussion which would get a little heated, though down at the ground floor the staff wouldn’t notice as they where far to keen to get a look at the latest addition to the growing fleet.


Naturally adding a Concorde to an operational fleet was indeed getting the attention Kajsa predicted with media and spotters flocking both to Lagoon Air’s home base in Bangkok, but also to Sydney as the plane would operate between Bangkok and Sydney making it the first operational Concorde flight in a long time. When asked about it the company released a brief statement:

“Lagoon Air always believes in offering the best flight experience in the industry, with class leading cabins, systems and services we always try to stay ahead of the competition. However we also believe that the history of flying deserves to be remembered in an active way. By operating Concorde once more we hope to bring this history along with the modern conveniences to a whole new market. We also hope that perhaps there is still hope for a new generation of super sonic airliners once the current crisis has calmed again.”

Many Industry experts have also weighted in with their opinion believing that operating a Concorde in this day in age makes no sense at all and would never be profitable because of the fuel, staffing and maintenance requirements of the super sonic jet. Lagoon Air commented that they consider it to be a marketing expense however.

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For this interview I will use cursive text to differentiate between questions and answers, it is all public knowledge naturally.


Lagoon Air is not exactly known to be a very forthcoming airline in the press or at all. Ever since they set up shop in Bangkok they have been growing steadily and it would seem their passengers rate them extremely highly. All in they are an example of a success story, but of course we really want to get the inside scoop and after a lot of back and forth we finally managed to sit down with CEO and owner of Lagoon Air, Kajsa Tova.

For this interview we where invited to their hangar at Don Mueang International Airport which has a unique set of suspended offices in the ceiling, though we have been told a proper HQ building is under construction which will soon house the majority of their staff as the hangar offices have reached capacity. Save to say if you have a fear of heights these offices are not for you. Overall we took notice of just how clean and organized the place was, we even saw some people cleaning up what appeared to be a minor oil spill. But enough of these matters let’s get into the interview:

Q: To start off with I think the first question on our minds and that of our readers would be, why did you start an airline in Thailand being Swedish yourself?

A: The answer to that is simple, just look at the aviation market, Europe is both very competitive and has a very strong on and off season, which is why you often hear of airlines going bankrupt in the off season as the income is just that much lower. In south East Asia this is not a problem we really need to deal with, surely their is ample of competition, but the market is strong year round which makes it a lot saver of a place to operate in.

Q: Next follow up question to that would naturally be, why Don Mueang it being the older and second airport serving Bangkok.

A: Exactly for that reason, originally Don Mueang was meant to close down, but demand is such it was pushed back into service and you can see combined with Suvarnabhumi we are looking at over a 100m yearly PAX. We decided to go with Don Mueang over Suvarnabhumi because of a lower competition and a more favorable location. Provided we can keep our growth we have a deal with the Thai government in which we split the cost to modernize and upgrade Don Mueang for the future.

Q: Currently you are serving mainly destinations in South East Asia and Europe, any reason for a focus specially on Europe for the long haul?

A: Ease of route scheduling mainly, Europe bound flights are easy to fit within a schedule and also match the capabilities of our fleet better. For example a route from Bangkok to Los Angeles is well over 13,000 Kilometers which is not really in the operational range for a Airbus A330-900neo which is our most capable long haul plane in the fleet.

Q: Speaking of the fleet it is quite the mix and rather heavy Airbus leaning, what the idea behind the current fleet and what are the future plans?

A: The current fleet is a mix of what was available and is available really. As a starting business one has to build up a reputation on many fronts including your credit. When we started we had talks with both Airbus and Boeing, but Boeing was not as keen to deal with us as Airbus, however Airbus very much was like you get the A330-900neo or the -800 or nothing. I assume they are trying to make that program pay off for them and well for us in order to get a decent long haul fleet it was the only option. As for the planes we own those all have been second hand examples that we have been able to get our hands on for a good price.

Q: So that is current, how about the future and could you address the Concorde?

A: The Concorde is really a marketing tool, we learned of a few that where flight capable with some work and well I made the decision to go for them. The public reaction has shown it has worked out quite well, however I do not expect them to be around for a long long time, they are old and expensive in upkeep. They are profitable against all odds, but from a business and also environmental perspective keeping them long them is not an option. As for future fleet plans currently we are in talks with Airbus about the A220, A321neo and A350 series. We have been talking with Boeing about the 777X, sadly that one keeps being pushed out because of the trouble they are going through. However we do like to have a mixed fleet and we are also curious to see what the 797 rumours will lead up being.

Q: So do you expect to keep anything of the current fleet for a longer period of time, because by the sound of things it is all meant to go?

A: You understood it correctly the current fleet will all be gone within the year if plans work out. We do understand the environmental impact of air travel and hence we are looking to operate a highly efficient fleet. Also a lot of these newer planes are more quiet and more comfortable for the passengers so it is a double win.

Q: About the rating Lagoon Air gets, some would argue it is unrealistically high with 5 stars all around, could you shed some light on this?

A: It is rather simple, first off we do not compete on the price, but on service and then we deliver on that service. Where a lot of airlines lure you in with cheap tickets and then charge you an arm and a leg for everything else, we run a 1 price model. That means if you fly with us you have a ticket and no worries, cause it includes you baggage, your drinks, your food and all other services onboard. We also ensure we properly train and pay our staff and happy employees make for happy customers.

Q: I know this is probably not a favourite subject, but a couple of weeks ago the Boarder agency in the UK confiscated a larger shipment of counterfeit goods flown in on one of Lagoon Air airplanes. Any idea what the story could be behind that?

A: Your guess is as good as mine, we take onboard cargo and assume it is properly checked and declared by the relevant authorities. That is in the end all we can do as an airline and those who decided to ship illegal goods will have to face the consequences.

Q: Last question, there is some rumblings about the senior staffing of the airline being rather heavy on the Swedish people with few Thai in there, could you share your thoughts on this matter?

A: The answer is two fold, first off the people I brought with me to start this airline all have been picked because of their experience and ability to get work permits here in Thailand. They are also people I can deeply trust which is always important if you run a business. Secondly we are training a lot of Thai people currently to join our workforce from lower end to the upper management, but these things will take time. However with the growth we are seeing I think this issue will soon be a none issue and it already shows with these grumblings mostly coming from outside of Lagoon Air and even outside of Thailand by people who do not know how things actually are. For example we currently employ over 800 people about 90% of those are Thai nationals.

That concluded the interview with Kajsa Tova, afterwards we got a guided tour by one of the Thai captains flying for Lagoon Air who indeed seemed to be quite happy with his workplace, while we didn’t get to speak to many others, we really couldn’t find much at all from people who seem to be unhappy with the airline and it’s staff. Overall it would seem Lagoon Air runs a very good business with attention to detail, as the captain explained when we asked why the floor of the hangar was so clean, “If anything around you is messy or dirty you are bound to feel less pressure to clean up if you make a bit more mess. However if everything is spotless you will feel it the moment you make the mess and you will clean it up. Of course it also helps that there is always enough staff to go around to handle this.”

We for sure will look forwards to the future of Lagoon Air and see where the company will go, for now it seems they are on a roll without anything getting in their way to slow them down anytime soon.

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Report:

Earlier this week the Lagoon Air Concorde LA-CONA3 which is also the first Lagoon Air plane to be named, in this case Sir Isaac Newton was spotted in Seatle. This has raised quite a few questions within the media as to the reason for this plane to be there seeing Lagoon Air to this day only flies a smallish number of Boeing 757-200s which are scheduled to be replaced soonish as the company is buying up Airbus A321s.

When probed about these events a company spokes person gave us the following information:

“Lagoon Air is experiencing a healthy level of growth with a small expansion into more routes towards the EU, but mainly within Asia on more short and medium haul routes. In order to expand it’s network in the long haul it has new contracts with Airbus using prior relationships. Lagoon Air however never forgot about Boeing and now with the company more established Boeing proven to be open to talks which have been held. The details of these talks remain between Lagoon Air and Boeing for the time being.”

With this information we asked our experts on their opinion in regards to which planes talks have been held about, but they appear to divided between the Boeing 787 and 777. One hand Lagoon Air claims to want to focus on efficiency and a green as possible fleet, but the 787 family doesn’t really seem to be offering the combination of range and capacity they are after. The 777 family however consumes 20% more fuel than the A350 family Lagoon Air already has contracts for.

After asking some other sources however we believe it is near certain that the contract will be for the 777 family of aircraft with likely the 777-200LR being the first of the type to be ordered once all the negotiations have been completed. Considering the state of the airline we assume like the Airbus A350 contracts these will be lease arrangements.

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Vikings and jungle warriors, the story of Lagoon Air so far.
‘Article from the Bangkok Daily’

It is safe to say that when a group of Swedish people descended upon Bangkok to start an airline, there where questions and concerns from the locals to put it mildly. Specially early on with most of the staff being mostly Swedish, the local population was protesting the airline. However not to long after it became clear that these vikings where not here to stage an invasion, but to start a proper cooperation. With a rapid growth they have been hiring and training staff by the dozens on a weekly basis without showing any signs of slowing down.

Where a lot of airlines have been struggling in recent times it seems the premium offering and quirks of Lagoon Air is hitting the right marks with the market. Starting with a more modest fleet simply limited by what they could get their hands on, they now have build up enough of a reputation to have large lease contracts with 80 wide bodies on order already. However they have not stopped there, with just today the airlines first Airbus A380 taking to the skies flying to London Heathrow. Not only do they now operate the worlds largest passenger plane, they also operate the fastest with the Concorde a total of 3 of those have been completely restored and overhauled. Lagoon Air itself however stated it is not certain if those will stay in the fleet, specially seeing the government made it clear it will not allow more than 48 Concorde movements a day from DMK due to the noise levels.

Meanwhile on a more regional level Lagoon Air has been expanding, changing over from the Boeing 757 to the Airbus A321 with the first of the 757s already sold to Chinese airline Tianjin Airline. This sale raised some eyebrows seeing the airline is flying from China into DMK, but currently only does so from 1 airport. The main invader as Lagoon Air’s contact person put it was Phoenix Airlines, which has started more and more flights into DMK, which Lagoon Air is not a fan of. To quote the spoke’s person:

“China is logically a very large market we would like to address and aggressive competition early on is far from ideal in that regard. However if we do not answer this competition we will be put on a backfoot in the long run. It would also seem that we are in a more healthy position to take this competition battle than Phoenix Airlines. We have as a result of this still hope agreements can be made in the future, though ideally we would recommend all airlines to fly to BKK instead of DMK. While we are working with the authorities to potential acquire DMK in the future to upgrade it, there is no going around it, that the facilities here are older and of lesser quality mostly than at BKK.”

We at the Bangkok daily tried to verify the statement of Lagoon Air wanting to buy Don Mueang, but we where unable to do so. However it would fit with the airlines aggressive expansion plans which while currently focused on long haul mostly, they will no doubt plan to go in just as much into short haul operations of which they already have a fair number. Passengers no doubt do not mind the competition so much as it forces prices to become lower across the board, from basic low quality seats to the premium offerings of Lagoon Air.

Meanwhile we at the Bangkok Daily wish Lagoon Air the best of luck, it would seem the bonding between Thai Jungle Warriors and Swedish Vikings is working out well for all involved. After all Lagoon Air is in the running to become the best employer with their great benefits and far above national average wages as they pay more according to an international scale. A ramp agent told us they earn around 18,000 baht a week, which is just under the monthly average for Bangkok with other positions in the airline paying substantially more than that.

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How to be a decent boss
‘Article from the Bangkok Daily’

Not to long ago, though technically last year we made a note of the salary levels at Lagoon air which where far above the national and even the relatively higher Bangkok average. Today we received the news from some of our sources that Lagoon Air owner and CEO Kajsa Tova ordered the hourly wage of all employees to be raised by 10USD effective immediately. The internal memo stated that she was extremely pleased with the hard work and dedication from all at Lagoon Air which allowed them to hit the ground running and expand swiftly. This combined with the pressure she expect from on boarding a lot more new personnel as the airline continuous to grow requires a proper compensation.

When we reached out to Lagoon Air they gave us the following statement, “We do not disclose the exact pay people receive, but after some discussions I have been granted permission to reveal that on average the airline pays currently between 8 and 9 million USD a week in salaries, benefits and travel expenses. Compared to the global industry average this around 40 to 60% higher. This is because Kajsa Tova believes that people should earn a solid worry free salary when they work even though it does put quite some pressure on the airline financials.”

What they didn’t mention, but our sources did state was that with the high pay and paid vacation and such came high demands, staff that doesn’t pull their weight are as quickly fired as they are hired. This is however seen as a good thing according to our sources.

Overall it seems that Lagoon Air continuous to generate goodwill, which will no doubt help them in their future plans.

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