BANGKOK (AFP): Thai Airways International (THAI) will suspend 20 international flights over the New Year due to fears the Y2K bug could affect air traffic safety, THAI president Thamnoon Wanglee said late today. “No domestic flights will be affected, only 20 flights to Europe, Australia, and Sri Lanka will be suspended,” he said. A senior Thai government minister this week aired fears the millennium bug could affect air traffic control systems in countries with ageing and underdeveloped infrastructure, such as Afghanistan, Myanmar and Russia. The affected flights, which pass through these alleged danger zones, account for just four percent of THAI’s 443 flights on December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000, Thamnoon said. Although the airline, aviation agencies and the Thai government have cleared THAI of potential millennium bug problems, passengers are believed to be nervous about Y2K safety risks. “If passengers do not feel happy, why would we fly?” said Transport and Communications Minister Suthep Thuagsuban, adding “Safety is our first priority.” Many airlines around the world have decided to operate fewer flights or cancel their services on December 31 and January 1. Some carriers have reported a lack of demand, while others are concerned that some airports, especially in central and southwest Asia, have not solved the Y2K glitch.
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