Covid-19 surge stalls flights

BANGKOK, 11 May 2021: Aeronautical Radio of Thailand has lowered its estimates for domestic and international airline traffic in 2021 to 323,093 flights.

The revised estimate represents a 38% reduction from the 518,790 flights estimated at the start of the year.

Aerothai vice-president Thinnakorn Chuwong said the rising number of Covid-19 infections in Thailand and overseas has caused domestic and international travel to decline well below earlier forecasts.

In addition, Thailand measures introduced at the end of April to slow inter-provincial domestic travel has dramatically cut flights.

He added that Aerothai estimates that the impact of the current wave of Covid-19 infections will last throughout May, and recovery would most likely begin slowly during June. The country’s Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand says it intends to ease restrictions on air travel in July, but that will also depend on whether the current surge in Covid-19 cases slow enough to make it safe to resume international travel.

Thailand reported 1,630 new cases 10 May and 22 deaths. Cumulative cases since March total 80,005 and fatalities 421. 

Thinnakorn added that the government’s “Phuket Sandbox” campaign that is supposed to start this July could help boost air travel from July to August to around 1,095 flights per day, which would be the same level as of December 2020, just before the start of the second Covid-19 wave.

Authorities have said the sandbox campaign, which would allow quarantine-free travel to Phuket, depends on vaccinating at least 70% of the island’s population and a substantial reduction in the daily country-wide cases that vary from 1,600 to 2,400 daily.

(Source: NBT)