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Bangkok Airports ready for Reopening

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  • Bangkok Airports ready for Reopening

    Bangkok’s 2 airports prepared to welcome international travellers

    As the November 1 reopening nears, Bangkok’s two airports are finalizing their plans on how to welcome and process international travellers for the first time since Covid-19 closed the borders. Suvarnabhumi Airport and the secondary Don Mueang International Airport, which traditionally caters to budget airlines and short-haul flights, are adopting an arrival style similar to that in place for the Phuket Sandbox.

    Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob says that the airports will be ready to welcome fully vaccinated international tourists with a process in place to avoid bottlenecking. He estimates that the time it’ll take from when a traveller steps off the plane to when they exit the airport will be roughly 25 minutes including standard customs and immigration procedures, as well as extra processes to deal with Covid-19.

    Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airports have always served as the gateway hub for international travellers with the majority of arrivals from out of the country landing first in Bangkok. Other international airports like Phuket and Koh Samui traditionally saw a fraction of the total arrivals that Bangkok did before the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The transport minister is confident that the two airports are 100% prepared for the reopening in 10 days and expect a smooth transition as tourists begin to travel back to Thailand. Fully vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries such as China, Germany, Singapore, and the UK will be allowed to travel to Thailand without quarantine. The full list of countries has not yet been determined.

    Along with the 2 Bangkok Airports’ reopening, 4 other airports around the country will be opened for international travel on November 1. Officials are predicting that Don Mueang International Airport will handle about 10,000 passengers per day, an 80% drop from the figures before Covid-19 when 50,000 passengers would pass through the airport daily.

    Once passengers arrive, they will go through Covid-19 screening with confirmation of their test within 72 hours of arrival. Any public transportation departing the airport like taxis or Grab cars are required to be equipped with a clear plastic partition for Covid-19 safety.

  • #2
    Foreign airlines give up 80% of their slots at Thailand’s airports amid uncertainty of next 5 months

    The managing director of Airports of Thailand says international carriers have returned around 80% of their slots at Thailand’s airports. Nitinai Sirisamatthakarn says around 80% of slots between October 31 and March 26 next year have been returned, indicating that airlines are uncertain about any imminent recovery in the aviation sector. Airport slots are the landing and take-off permissions that airport owners grant to airlines. Thailand’s 6 international airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket. Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai – have all been affected by the move.

    At Bangkok’s Don Mueang, airlines have relinquished 100% of their slots, with 70% being returned at Suvarnabhumi.

    According to a Thai PBS World report, Nitinai says Thailand’s aviation sector hit its lowest point during the period between July and September this year. This was when the government suspended all regular flights in a bid to get the Covid-19 situation under control. During that period, Nitinai says the 6 international airports welcomed an average of 50 passengers a day. He adds that once the restrictions were eased in October, that jumped to 30,000 a day. Nitinai has hope that the aviation sector will gradually recover in the next 2 years. AOT has already endured operational losses of 11 Billion THB during the first 9 months of 2021.