PHUKET: At least five Thai commercial airlines are offering free flights to Bangkok to assist the government effort in evacuating the dead and wounded from the island.
Vasing Kittikul, Executive Vice-President of the Thai Airways (THAI) Commercial Department, said that THAI had already evacuated some 1,100 people to Bangkok today.
Those injured or needing to arrange transport for the deceased should call 076-327274 or 076-205335 to make arrangements. There are about 400 seats available on each flight for the injured.
Those requiring transport tomorrow or on the following days should call first to check flight times and availability, he said, as schedules are likely to change on a daily basis.
Passengers need to identify themselves at the airport, confirm their identities and prove that they will be returning to their home countries. Upon doing so they will be issued a boarding pass.
Other airlines and government agencies providing free evacuation flights include: Bangkok Airways (five flights); The Royal Thai Airforce (four flights on C-130 aircraft), Thai Air Asia and Phuket Air (two flights each); and Orient Thai (one flight).
K. Vasing said that although the free evacuation flights would be expensive for the company to run, they were a sign that all the nation’s carriers were unified in the effort to maintain a positive image for tourism in the region despite the tragedy.
“I’d like to see Phuket cleaned up as soon as possible. I believe that after a few months of recovery tourists will start to return to Phuket,” he said.
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