Not so fast, Thailand’s international flight ban might be extended

PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Commercial international flights may have to wait a little longer to get back in the air. Scheduled international flights in and out of Thailand were geared to take off by July 1, but aviation authorities are wary about opening the country back up again. They say, if anything, those traveling for business will be the first group allowed to enter and travel overseas.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand also plans to create so-called “travel bubbles” allowing a limited number of foreigners from low-risk countries to enter Thailand and visit select destinations. International tourism could be back in action by August.

Chief executive of Thai AirAsia, TAA, says the airline will be ready for international travel once those travel bubbles are in place. Domestic travel is already kicking back up. Just yesterday, the airline resumed 4 Bangkok-Phuket flights per day.

“Most travel now is for business purposes … When the leisure market comes back at a faster speed in July, we will offer special airfares to respond to upcoming demand and compete with other airlines.”

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Social distancing on flights isn’t much of an option as airlines have opposed leaving the middle seats open. They say it takes away any chance of making a profit. Airlines have already taken an enormous hit this year and will probably take longer than most other businesses to recover.

TAA plans to carry 11 million passengers this year. That’s half the number of people they carried last year with 22.5 million passengers in 2019.

Passengers will have to face masks for the duration of the flight. Three rows in the back will be left unoccupied for anyone who shows signs of sickness during the flight. For short flights, less than an hour long, airlines won’t have to leave empty rows.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post

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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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