Thai airlines to resume flights to China on Saturday
Thai Airways International will resume flights to China on Saturday after Chinese authorities agreed to allow two flights per week from Thailand.
The move by the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) came after Beijing eased travel restrictions, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).
CAAT then held a meeting with eight airlines in Thailand to find which were interested in the weekly flight quota. The eight airlines are THAI, Thai Smile Airways, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Vietjet Air, Thai Lion Air, and Thai AirAsia X.
Most of the airlines expressed interest in operating flights to China, a CAAT source said. Priority was given to the airlines that operated Thailand-China flights before the travel restrictions. THAI, Thai Smile Airways, Thai Lion Air and Thai AirAsia will take up the quota, which will switch between airlines every week. THAI will operate the first flight to Guangzhou on Saturday.
Thai airlines will be permitted to fly to any city in China, except Beijing and Shanghai.
CAAT expects Chinese aviation authorities to gradually increase the flight quota for Thailand. However, tight quarantine restrictions for Chinese travellers on return mean Thailand is unlikely to see a big influx of tourists from China soon. China was Thailand’s largest tourism market before the pandemic, accounting for more than a quarter of the 40 million visitors in 2019.
Meanwhile, China has imposed strict Covid-19 checks, and flights by any airline found to be carrying an infected passenger would be cancelled immediately, the CAAT source warned. He said all airlines must screen their passengers closely.
The average number of passengers flying in and out of China daily has risen from as little as 30,000 in May to 42,000 this month, according to CAAT. Most are travellers from India and Singapore.