“A bit of this, minus a bit of that, plus the additional hassle at check-in and immigration counters, might help lure tourists to return to Thailand in the near short-term period.”
Looking at the new ‘normal’, after April 30, Thailand will start to see how its aviation industry may have to function for, at least, the immediate future. Traveling by air will not be the same and is going to be more complicated for operators as well as passengers.
Airlines have been told that they will have to adopt strict anti-virus transmission rules when resuming domestic flights from May 1. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) says that whilst returning to operational schedules is the airlines’ right, “they must operate flights under new standard operation procedures”.
The airline operators will meet the CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop tomorrow to discuss new guidelines and rules when restarting flights.
Chula says the Covid-19 era rules will have to factor in social distancing and disease-transmission prevention. That will include leaving empty seats in each row in aircraft cabins, requiring all passengers to wear face masks and not serving food and drinks.
Needless to say, the basic requirements already made the operation of the business much less profitable, let alone comfortable. Fewer passengers will be able to board a flight, wearing face masks for an hour or more will not be much of a comfy for most of them, and airlines will miss the additional cash from the serving of refreshments (although less job for cabin staffs). Certainly, the fewer passengers will keep prices higher, rather than lower.
Thai-registered airlines have grounded flights includes national carrier Thai Airways, Thai Smile, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, and Nok Air. International flights operated by Nok Scoot will remain suspended until April 30. Bangkok Airways has shelved its international flights indefinitely, its domestic flights have been halted until the end of the month.
Four airlines, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Bangkok Airways, have already announced their intention to restart domestic flights in May.
Thai Airways announced yesterday that it will be sending repatriation flights to Sydney and Auckland, to bring stranded Thai citizens home from April 25-27.
Source: Bangkok Post