The managing director of Airports of Thailand says international carriers have returned around 80% of their slots at Thailand’s airports. Nitinai Sirisamatthakarn says around 80% of slots between October 31 and March 26 next year have been returned, indicating that airlines are uncertain about any imminent recovery in the aviation sector. Airport slots are the landing and take-off permissions that airport owners grant to airlines. Thailand’s 6 international airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket. Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai – have all been affected by the move. At Bangkok’s Don Mueang, airlines have relinquished 100% of their slots, with 70% being returned at Suvarnabhumi.
According to a Thai PBS World report, Nitinai says Thailand’s aviation sector hit its lowest point during the period between July and September this year. This was when the government suspended all regular flights in a bid to get the Covid-19 situation under control. During that period, Nitinai says the 6 international airports welcomed an average of 50 passengers a day. He adds that once the restrictions were eased in October, that jumped to 30,000 a day. Nitinai has hope that the aviation sector will gradually recover in the next 2 years. AOT has already endured operational losses of 11 billion baht during the first 9 months of 2021.
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SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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