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Thai passenger traffic and flight schedules on the increase

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Domestic travel in Thailand is in for a good July, with two long weekends and airlines starting to add to their schedule, resuming flights and frequency that have been otherwise subdued.

The Aeronautical Radio of Thailand and the International Air Transport Association are reporting an increased pace of domestic flights in Thailand, matching the general global trend.

Nopasit Chakpitak, the Aerothai president, told the Bangkok Post that an average of 1,437 domestic flights took off from Thai airports every day after July 1. That’s up from the average of 1,374 flights per day in June. On July 1 the Thailand Pass was scrapped for all international arrivals.

With this month’s list of public holidays, Thais are expected to travel more during July. There is this week’s Asanha Bucha Day and the start of Buddhist Lent, which will span into a long weekend encompassing July 13 – 17, and the long weekend for His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s birthday which will span July 28 – 31.

With local airlines dusting off their fleet and restoring destinations and frequency, Nopasit expats up to 430,000 flights are predicted to take off in 2022, up 41% when compared to last year’s figures (when travel restrictions limited holidays and general travel).

Meanwhile, IATA has indicated passenger data from May is showing a steady increase in global air travel. Despite the problems with European and US carriers with flight delays and cancellations during the summer holiday surge, global flight bookings have increased as the year progresses.

IATA claims that global passenger traffic is now at 68.7% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

In last month’s travel trends report, Exploding Topics noted that the number one concern of travellers is Covid-19 Safety And Cleanliness. The report notes that health concerns due to the pandemic are expected to continue well into 2022 and may well be a factor in the travel space into 2023 as well.

Consumers in the report said that overall exposure to other travellers and boarding a flight are the top two anxiety-producing parts of travelling.

But the report also noted that a few airlines are going to extreme measures to quell traveller anxiety.

Dubai-based airline Emirates says they will now cover medical expenses of up to US$183,000 and any quarantine costs of US$122 per day for 14 days for passengers who are diagnosed with Covid-19 during their trip.

Booking.com is reporting a 17% increase in solo travel when compared to 2019. Statistics show that the number of people travelling solo was already on the rise before the pandemic and that this trend is expected to grow.

Travelling closer to home is also a noticeable trend as the world’s travel market starts to get back on its feet this year, with an increase in remote workers and business travel contributing to passenger numbers.

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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