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Airlines in Thailand push for July reopening and quicker roll out of vaccinations for employees

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Airline operators in Thailand are seeking a July reopening date and are pushing to get workers vaccinated against Covid-19 within the next 2 months, along the same timeline as many in the travel sector prepare for July’s anticipated launch of the “sandbox” scheme in Phuket. Under the sandbox model, vaccinated travellers will be able to travel to the island province without undergoing quarantine. For the plan to work, Phuket needs at least 70% of its population to be vaccinated, reaching herd immunity.

The government plans to reopen Thailand to foreign tourists by October, but airline operators are pushing for July, according to the president of the Airlines Association of Thailand, or AAT, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth. The association represents 7 airlines in Thailand including Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai Smile Airways, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air and Thai Vietjet.

Puttipong, who is also the president of Bangkok Airways, says the vaccinations for the airline workers should be done within the next 2 months, in line with the reopening of Phuket.

“A tourism rebound will largely depend on the pace of inoculations which can build confidence among both workers and passengers.”

The head of commercial operations at Thai Lion Air, Nuntaporn Komonsittivate, also says the roll out of vaccinations for airline employees needs to be accelerated. She says the government needs to set a clear timeline for reopening.

Nuntaporn says she expects international flights to and from countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand, such as Singapore, Taiwan and China, to slowly increase during the third quarter of the year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Graham Smith

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Dont hope so!

  2. Avatar

    Maverick

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Other than hospitals conducting surveys not too much activity on the quarantine front in Phuket. Hardly realistic to jab 70% of population TWICE in time for agents and tourists to plan for a July holiday – this would entail having vaccination process complete by end of May at the latest, somebody is smoking some of that recently legalized weed.

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    I will watch with interest, but I can’t visit anyway because my country refuses to let it’s citizens go 🙁

  4. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Mmm, have to wonder why costa del mafia is the first place for the so called sandbox visits. Yes I know it’s an island, but it’s also the most unwelcoming mafia run area in Thailand and now they are managing to ensure that they get vaccinated ahead of other resorts. Nah, I wait or choose another destination for this year thanks.

  5. Avatar

    Dreqo

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    I think this all is mostly PR to keep up appearances for investors and currency relations.
    It sounds all fine and dandy, but most countries aren’t even allowing their citizens to go abroad, for anything short of serious emergencies or work. There’s an obvious disconnect occurring.

  6. Avatar

    Wayno

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    Seems like everyone is desperate for the tourists to return, even though the country does NOT rely on tourists

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Vaccination time is far from the only problem, Maverick, or even the main one.

    How about the aging expats living on Phuket? The yachties? The hordes of bar girls, bar boys and freelancers who will flock to the island as long as Pattaya and Bangkok are closed?

    The tourists, vaccinated or just with a photoshopped certificate, who will use Phuket for “quarantine” in lieu of an ASQ elsewhere, with a second mobile to avoid the tracking app?

    The tourists who get a false positive on arrival with the rapid test, who then spend 3 days in hospital quarantined?

    The list goes on … and on. If the numbers are so small the risk is minimal then it wasn’t worth doing, while if any prove to be problems the backlash will set any recovery back by months.

    Given what Thailand has achieved over the last year, this is just short-sighted, stupid panic and Bali, Cambodia and Vietnam will reap the benefit.

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