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Lost in Transit: airport closure cost B250m a day



Lost in Transit: airport closure cost B250m a day | Thaiger

PHUKET AIRPORT: Losses of an estimated 250 million baht per day have been reported to an ad-hoc committee set up to monitor and control safety at Phuket International Airport following the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) anti-government protests.

Phuket International Airport was closed at 4:50 pm on Friday and did not re-open until 11 am yesterday. Marking the return to normal services was the first departing flight, THAI Airways flight TG213 at 2:10 pm, and the first inbound flight arriving at 3:30 pm.

Following the closure, an Emergency Operations Command (EOC) was set up at the airport on Saturday with about 90 uniformed officers on duty, comprising military and volunteer personnel.

Phuket Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima, who is acting-Governor while Niran Kalayanamit is in Bangkok, is currently president of the EOC, which will be stationed at the airport until it is deemed no longer necessary.

The EOC committee also includes the deputy commander of Region 8 police, the commander of Phuket provincial police, the mayor of Thalang, the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, the Phuket Tourist Association, the Thai Hotels Association, the Department of Transport, airlines that were affected by the protest and the Phuket International Airport director.

The committee met at 9 am yesterday and decided that it was safe to re-open the airport at 11 am.

A Ministry of Interior official who asked to remain anonymous said that the PAD had been infiltrated by a third party that was trying to discredit them.

In doing so, according to the committee, they caused loss of revenue amounting to 250 million baht per day.

The committee reported that the airport closure had forced the cancellation of 88 outbound flights and 93 incoming ones (126 domestic flights and 55 international).

Consequently, about 13,000 passengers missed their outbound flights while some 17,000 missed incoming flights, the EOC reported.

Some 137 tonnes of air cargo was also delayed.

A total of 11 airlines had to cancel flights. These were: Thai International, Dragon Air, Silk Air, Air Asia, Bangkok Air, Malaysia Air, Jet Star, Sky Star, China Air, Tiger Air and Nok Air.


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