Domestic flights may resume on May 1, but under strict conditions
If provinces where tourist destinations are located start lifting their restrictions next month, then airlines will be allowed to resume domestic flight services but only under strict conditions.
Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), said on Thursday (April 23) that he has met with representatives of both local and international airlines to discuss the option of allowing domestic flights to start operating from May 1.
“Though the Covid-19 outbreak appears to be subsiding and carriers are preparing to resume operations, every airline is required to strictly follow every disease prevention rule,” he said.
It is mandatory for airlines to observe the following rules once they resume services:
• The province of the destination should have eased restrictions.
• Passengers can only occupy every other seat.
• Social distancing must be strictly observed at check-in counters and during embarking and disembarking.
• No food or drink can be served on the flight.
• Special seats must be reserved for risky passengers for routes longer than 90 minutes.
• Crew members must wear masks, face shields and gloves.
• Passengers are required to always wear a mask.
Passengers need to have their own mask and are not allowed to bring food on the plane. For flights that are longer than 90 minutes, airlines must reserve seats at the back of the plane for passengers who show symptoms of Covid-19, he said.
Chula added that travellers will have to check flights and timetables with the airlines directly as not all routes will be open. They can also monitor the latest updates about Covid-19 cases at the CAAT website, www.caat.or.th/corona.
So far, Air Asia is the only airline that has indicated it will resume flights on May 1, while Lion Air has said it will wait for the government’s decision on whether or not to extend the state of emergency. Some government officials have signalled that a few restrictions may be eased though the state of emergency may be extended beyond April 30.