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Flights from dark red zones prohibited from Wednesday, July 21

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PHOTO: Domestic flights from dark red zones are prohibited from July 21. (via EconomicTimes)

UPDATE:

Thai Smile are cancelling all of their domestic flights for 2 weeks. Thai Smile is the domestic subsidiary of Thai Airways.

“Thai Smile Airways would like to announce the temporary suspension of service on all domestic flights effective from July 21, 2021 – August 3, 2021”.

The result of the ban is that most airlines are just grounding their planes from Wednesday and waiting out the situation until the bans are lifted.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A new announcement from the CAAT bans all domestic airline passenger flights out of the dark red zones, including Bangkok and Pattaya, beginning Wednesday, July 21. The decree comes as Covid-19 infections continue to rise in Bangkok and surrounding provinces while daily Covid cases hit 5 digits and daily deaths hit triple digits, both for the first time. The restriction also limits the capacity for all domestic flights throughout Thailand.

An exception is to be made for emergency landings, medical flights, and also for the Phuket Sandbox and Samui+ reopening flights, though details are not clear on how they will operate and if they will run in both directions as regularly scheduled.

Domestic flights will be capped at a 50% capacity to allow social distancing for Covid-19 safety. This applies to all flights outside of the dark red zones, which increased from the original 10 provinces that include Bangkok and its 5 surrounding provinces and 4 more in the Deep South to now add 7 more provinces to the list yesterday and Ayutthaya today.

Bangkok Airways has already cancelled all but its Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus flights. Thai VietJet has cancelled all flights from this Wednesday to the end of the month,

All domestic airlines will struggle to afford the cost and burden of operating one-way flights since they are allowed to fly into dark red zones but not out, and only with half the plane full. Essentially they will have to fly roundtrips with one leg completely empty in order to have planes available for the next departing flights, creating a huge financial drain on an already ailing industry.

The ramifications of how the new rule will affect the Phuket Sandbox and the Samui+ international reopening schemes but travellers who have completed their 14 day arrival soft-quarantine may struggle to travel to the rest of the country afterwards.

Public buses from Bangkok to the south have suspended services already, but some sort of land transport may be the only way to get around the country in the coming weeks though authorities ask that people refrain from travelling for non-essential reasons.

The dark red zone provinces directly affected by the new regulations are:

ORIGINAL 10 PROVINCES

BANGKOK AREA

Bangkok
Nakhon Pathom
Nonthaburi
Pathum Thani
Samut Prakan
Samut Sakhon
DEEP SOUTH
Narathiwat
Songkhla
Pattani
Yala

NEWLY ADDED DARK RED ZONES

ISAN

Surin
Ubon Ratchathani
Udon Thani

EASTERN THAILAND

Chon Buri
Chachoengsao
Rayong

WESTERN AND CENTRAL THAILAND

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Ratchaburi

 

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