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

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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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