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Thai aviation will take to the skies with strict new anti-virus guidelines

Tanutam Thawan



“Little of this, plus the additional hassles at check in and immigration, is going to help entice tourists to return to Thailand in the short-term.”

Looking at the new ‘normal’, post April 30 in Thailand, we are now starting to see how commercial aviation may have to function for, at least, the immediate future. Suffice to say, flying around is going to be more complicated for operators and passengers.

Airlines are being told that they will have to adopt strict anti-virus transmission rules when resuming domestic flights from May 1,. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand says that, whilst returning to operational schedules is the airlines’ right, “they must operate flights differently”.

The airlines will meet the CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop tomorrow to discuss guidelines and rules for restarting flights.

Airlines have been virtually grounded in Thailand as the domestic and international aviation industry serving Thailand has been sitting it out and their planes gathering dust.

Chula says the Covid-era rules will have to factor in social distancing and disease-transmission prevention. That will include leaving empty seats in each row in aircraft cabins, requiring all passengers to wear face masks and not serving food and drinks.

On the face of it, the basic requirements already make the operation of the businesses much less palatable and profitable. Fewer passengers will be able to board a flight, wearing face masks for an hour a more will not be comfortable for many passengers and airlines will miss the additional cash from the serving of refreshments (although the cabin staff will be delighted!). Inevitably, the fewer passengers will keep prices higher, rather than lower.

Thai-registered airlines who have ground flights include national carrier Thai Airways, its low-cost subsidiary, Thai Smile, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, and Nok Air. International flights operated by Nok Scoot will remain suspended until April 30. Bangkok Airways has shelved its international flights indefinitely, its domestic flights have been halted until the end of the month.

Four airlines, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Bangkok Airways, have already announced their intention to restart domestic flights in May.

Thai Airways announced yesterday that it was sending repatriation flights to Sydney, Australia, and to Auckland, New Zealand, to bring Thai citizens home from April 25-27.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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