Don Mueang falling below passenger goal


Despite the return to the skies by many of Thailand’s domestic airlines – Thai Air Asia, Thai Lion Air, Thai VietJet, Nok Air Thai Smile, Bangkok Air – Don Mueang Airport has been quiet with only a third of the passengers they’re used to. The Bangkok airport, mostly serving the budget airlines, is even falling below the conservative goals they set early on in the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport’s general manager Sumpun Kutranon says their target was 15 million passengers, but now they expect only 13.6 million passengers this year – the large majority of those arrived in the first three months before the airline groundings kicked in. Last year, the airport had more than 41 million passengers. Before the outbreak, the airport had 700 flights and 120,000 passengers each day. Now the airport only has 220 flights and 45,000 passengers each day.

As coronavirus restrictions are gradually lifting, the daily number of passengers at Don Mueang is slowly rising. But international tourists are still not allowed to enter the country. The restrictions are strict on those who can enter, such as those who have valid work permits or fit into select categories. Necessary documents and approval from the government is required, and those who enter must go through a 14 day quarantine. There is actually a cap on the number of arrivals the government is prepared to accept each day. All of the overseas flights, for now, are coming through Suvarnabhumi Airport where they are set up to receive overseas passenger traffic who will be heading off to the 14 day quarantine.

Sumpun says Don Mueang is ready for an influx of foreign passengers once the government implements a travel bubble policy (or some other ‘plan’ or ‘model’), but no final policy has been confirmed at this stage. The government has discussed possible plans of allowing tourists from countries they’ve deemed a low-risk for spreading the coronavirus to visit Thailand on an extended stay. Those tourists would need to go through a 14 day quarantine at their own cost.

The response from Thais and potential travellers has been ‘mixed’ at this stage.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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