Thailand has resumed some domestic flights to and from the highest-risk provinces from September 1. Following the announcement made by the Thai Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for the interprovincial travel in the country, Thau VietJetAir and Thai Smile announced to resume their scheduled routes of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi as of September 1.
Similarly, Thai Lion Air and Nok Air are starting their services in the domestic routes out of Bangkok Don Mueang from September 1, and Thai AirAsia is to restart its 11 domestic routes from Don Mueang from September 3.
The country’s flag carrier, Thai Airways International, currently doesn’t operate in any of the domestic routes; it’s rather sustaining itself on the international hauls and cargo flights only.
In an announcement made on Sunday, August 29, the country’s authority revealed their intention to resume the domestic flights amidst the high-risk areas for Covid-19 to boost the country’s economic activity.
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The announcement follows the ease of tough restrictions on 29 high-risk provinces from next month, including the permission for more provincial travel and opening the shopping malls as a step by the government to revive the struggling economy. The government is allowing the local airlines to fly up to their 75% passengers capacity with the mandatory requirement of travelers having to present the proof of vaccination and test result for Covid-19. The capacity rate was increased from 50% imposed by the authority until August; however, the ban on the in-flight meals and drinks remains unchanged. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand also plans to allow flights related to the areas under a tourism reopening scheme.
Most of the Thai carriers had suspended their scheduled domestic operation in mid-July due to the stricter rules imposed by the government to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Bangkok Airways was the only Thai airline to operate the scheduled domestic flights in August 2021. The airline was able to capitalize the medium-risk “Orange” regions like Phuket and Surat Thani provinces and launched its three times weekly services connecting the Koh Samui and Phuket on August 25, 2021. Bangkok Airways operated in throughout the month for the essential travelers only, and from August 22, the airlines started operating scheduled weekly flights between Koh Samui and Singapore Changi. Bangkok Airways plans committed to restarting four of its additional domestic routes from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and open the Bangkok-Koh Samui route for even non-essential travelers from September 1.
Even though the Thai Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has decided to ease its strict restriction that was imposed before on the travel, gastronomy retails, and cultural events throughout the nation, the county’s 28 provinces, including Bangkok and all of its neighboring cities, are still market as the highest risk zone “dark red.” Not only that, 37 of the provinces carry the high-risk “red” mark, including the 11 orange risk zones, so the infection rate has not been entirely contained in the provinces. The authorities have decided to restart their services.
The relaxed curbs in Thailand have the largest infection rate; before easing on travel, retails, events, and others, the provinces had a daily record high of more than 23,00 new infection cases during early August, and by August 29, the new cases report had dropped to 16,536 with 264 deaths.
The Government spokesperson, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, revealed the Thai government’s plan to ramp up the vaccination process throughout the country on August 29. The government expects to have 140 million vaccines by the end of 2021. The country’s vaccination rates were way below most of the western countries, with only 9.5% of the population getting vaccinated, with overall 28.8 million Covid-19 vaccination doses by the end of August 2021.