Thai airlines pin their hopes on government resuming Test & Go

PHOTO courtesy of Suvarnabhumi Airport

The president of the Airlines Association of Thailand says the government must allow the Test & Go entry scheme to resume as soon as possible. The scheme was recently suspended as the Omicron Covid-19 variant spread rapidly across the globe. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, who is also the boss of Bangkok Airways, says the scheme was working well, attracting more foreign visitors to the kingdom, and airlines are anxious to see it rebooted.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Puttipong says the government needs to assess the severity of Omicron and resume Test & Go based on the number of serious infections. Since the scheme’s suspension, international arrivals must choose between mandatory quarantine in Bangkok or one of the country’s sandbox schemes. If they opt for one of the sandbox entry schemes, they have to spend a minimum of 7 nights in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga or Koh Samui and then test negative for Covid-19 before being free to travel elsewhere in Thailand.

Puttipong is urging the government to change its approach to the Omicron variant due to it causing milder illness in vaccinated people. He points out that airlines already use stringent health protection measures. While domestic flights may pick up once it’s confirmed Omicron is less severe, this will not be enough to help Thailand’s aviation and tourism sectors.

“If Omicron is not deadly, domestic flights will rebound shortly, but this is not adequate to support the industry. Thai tourism needs the international market to reach full capacity.”

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Meanwhile, Aswin Yangkirativorn, boss of Thai Lion Air, says the government’s approach to the Omicron variant – in particular, the decision to suspend Test & Go – has created significant uncertainty for the aviation sector. He adds that TLA has no plans to restart international flights at this time and is calling on the government to provide more support for domestic tourism, by introducing stimulus measures and subsidies that will encourage more people to travel in-country.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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