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Airline staff look forward to Thailand’s Nov 1 reopening -Breaking

© Reuters. Thai AirAsia’s aircraft can be seen on the runway of Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport (Thailand), October 27, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha


Chayut setboonsarng & Juaraweekittisilpa

BANGKOK, (Reuters) – The Thai aviation industry will reopen on Monday. This is the day when all vaccinated people can enter Thailand without being quarantined. It marks the end of nearly 19 months worth of restrictive entry regulations.

Puttipong Prasarttong -Osoth is the president of Thai AirAsia, Thai VietJet Air and Thai Smile Airways.

Prayuth Chanocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, announced that vaccinated travelers from 46 countries will be permitted entry to the country without quarantine starting November.

The airlines have reacted quickly and brought back the jets from hibernation or long-term storage, where they were kept covered with engines for protection, as well as their systems wound down.

Thai AirAsia’s Head of Engineering Banyat Hansakul said that “it is in our DNA” and it was easy to return to make the planes ready. “It’s similar to riding a bicycle.”

Thai AirAsia was already using 10 planes out of its fleet of 60 aircraft, while Bangkok Airways had 13 planes totalling 38. This is mainly for domestic travel following a pilot program that opened Phuket and Samui Islands in July.

As restrictions loosening, both airlines plan to fly more passengers from Malaysia and neighbouring countries in the coming months.

Thai Airways International Pcl is a flag carrier that operates flights from Bangkok to London and Sydney.

Although optimism regarding initial tourist arrivals is mixed, as other countries continue to observe quarantine measures. Wirote Teerawattananon (30, pilot Thai AirAsia) said that he was happy.

He said, “I am happy to return to flying, tourists are returning, so we can get back to work.”

Thailand hosted 40 million visitors from abroad in 2019, The government has set a goal of 100,000 this year.

COVID-19 is estimated to have cost Thailand $50 billion annually in tourism revenues. The airline industry has also been hit hard.

Thai Airways, and Nok Air Pcl (low-cost affiliate) are currently undergoing restructuring that is bankruptcy-protected. NokScoot was another airline that went into liquidation in 2013.

Thai AirAsia crewmember Kohchamon Pithayapipat said, “I really look forward to the return foreigners.” Foreign spending is a great way to generate income for small or medium-sized businesses.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.