The ban on incoming international flights to Thailand may extend beyond the planned July 1st end date, according to the Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), Chula Sukmanop.
Mr. Sukmanop made the statement following a meeting between representatives of 10 commercial airlines, five private jet firms, and four airport operators on Tuesday.
He placed doubt on whether the scheduled reopening of airports in Thailand for international flights on July 1st would proceed as planned, citing health concerns and negotiation of the “travel bubbles” scheme among the reasons.
The CAAT Director-General said that in order for international flights to resume, the Public Health Ministry must first evaluate and ensure the safety of all passengers.
He continued by saying that once the go-ahead is given from the Public Health Ministry, other considerations including exactly who can fly must be decided.
At present, it is highly likely that international flights, both to and from Thailand, will be limited to business people, investors, and medical tourism only.
Referencing business travelers, Mr. Sukmanop believes they are better equipped to pay for staying in a foreign country, saying:
“They could be the first group allowed to book air tickets on international routes.”
The meeting also discussed new rules for airlines carrying passengers once the flight ban is eventually lifted. Several rules were agreed, including:
- Airlines will not need to leave empty seats between passengers on flights.
- The last three back rows will remain vacated in case a passenger falls ill during the trip.
- Passengers must wear face masks at all times during flights.
- Flights longer than two hours may serve food and drinks in sealed containers.
Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, is scheduled to hold discussions with selected nations over the coming days regarding bilateral agreements for international travel.
Source: Bangkok Post