AirAsia readies for Sandbox opening

BANGKOK, 23 June 2021: As the Thai government confirms the country will embark on a reopening phase beginning with a pilot “Sandbox project” in Phuket 1 July, airlines are planning to increase domestic flights.

In a press statement released Tuesday, AirAsia says it is “set to paint the skies red again in support of the Phuket Tourism Sandbox programme that is also seen as the first step in welcoming international visitors to Thailand.

Caption 1  Krid Pattanasan

AirAsia Thailand head of government relations and secretary-general of the Airlines Association of Thailand Krid Pattanasan said: “Domestic travel will be the first to restart with the reopening of Phuket from 1 July 2021. Thai and foreign travellers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to enter Phuket under strict government guidelines.

“This initiative will soon be extended to other destinations including Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phang Nga, Pattaya and Hua Hin. AirAsia has been rigorously preparing for this much-awaited programme, and its staff are ready to welcome and facilitate guests, including by getting themselves vaccinated to ensure the safety, wellbeing and peace of mind for all guests.”

By the end of June, over 80% of AirAsia’s staff will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The programme started with those who have direct contact with guests such as ground staff, cabin crew and pilots, but it is extending to those working as baggage handlers, technical crew and engineering staff are also ensured to receive the vaccine.

In preparation to take to the skies again, AirAsia has lined up various attractive promotions to further stimulate travel. These promos will commence as soon as the government provides the green light for mass air travel to kick off.

Caption 2 Lunchakorn Saengsiri

Senior Cabin Crew Lunchakorn Saengsiri, as frontline staff in direct contact with guests, said receiving a full vaccination has provided great confidence when interacting with his co-workers, his family and AirAsia guests.

He noted that despite the low frequency of flights currently, he and his colleagues have been maintaining safety and hygiene standards for every flight.  Close contact with passengers has been reduced to the minimum in accordance with state regulations, while the consumption of food and sale of goods in-flight has been completely restricted.

Caption 3 Tapachcha Khanpimool

For Senior Cabin Crew Tapachcha Khanpimool, most people have been adapting to the situation, and she expressed the belief that once vaccinations become widespread, air travel will quickly return especially the much anticipated domestic travel.

“We are very excited to return to flying and have ensured that we are fully ready by protecting ourselves and staying up to date on the latest information  so that we can provide the best possible service to our guests.”

Meanwhile, Ramp Agent Noppalit Budrath shared that despite everyone in his department having been fully vaccinated, it is crucial that the highest safety and hygiene measures continue to be observed. He said this is especially true as in the course of his duties delivering aircraft for service and to be present during landing and take-off, he would frequently come into contact with passengers.

Caption 4 Noppalit Budrath

AirAsia intends to increase its domestic service by 20 to 30% compared to the same period in 2020 and before the latest COVID-19 wave.

It will fly Don Mueang-Phuket three times daily and Suvarnabhumi-Phuket once daily every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.