MAI KHAO: Phuket International Airport Director Wicha Nernlop is begging the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to end its siege of Bangkok’s two commercial airports, saying the revenue lost already dwarfs the amount lost through corruption during the Thaksin years.
Speaking to the Gazette this afternoon, Mr Wicha said that the number of travelers stranded in Phuket has now reached 20,000.
With no end to the closures of the two airports in Bangkok in sight, many airlines – including Thai International Airways – are trying to re-route direct, international flights to and from Phuket.
Three airlines – KLM, Quantas and Air France – are ready to launch direct services from Phuket, he confirmed.
However, Phuket Airport is only capable of handling about 1,000 additional passengers per day. Apart from having insufficient fuel supplies, a host of other operational problems limit the number of flights the single-runway airport can service, he said.
Mr Wicha begged the PAD to reopen Suvarnabhumi Airport as soon as possible, saying the closure was tantamount to economic suicide.
Of the 20,000 tourists now stranded in Phuket, many are staying in hotels, with their bills being paid for with financial assistance from airlines and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Thailand, he said.
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