Air travel to resume for worst-hit Thai provinces

Coconuts ManilaAugust 30, 2021

Getting to or from Phuket or other distant destinations won’t require an epic road trip starting Wednesday.

Nearly two months after air travel was suspended for provinces with the worst coronavirus outbreaks, aviation officials announced they may take flight again starting Wednesday.

Airlines including Nok Air, Thai Smile and Thai Vietjet have already announced they will resume affected domestic flights. Bangkok Airways will reopen five routes between Bangkok and Samui, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Sukhothai and Phuket.

Another airline, Air Asia, said it will resume flights on Friday connecting the capital to at least 11 destinations including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Songkhla, Ubon Ratchathani and Narathiwat.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, red-eye flights between 9pm and 4am – the current hours of the overnight curfew – will remain closed. Flights will be capped at 75% of capacity.

The reopening of domestic air travel in the 29 hardest-hit, “dark red” provinces coincides with other measures to be relaxed. Restaurants, salons, massage parlors and public parks will reopen to the public, though eating out will require evidence of full vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19.

Since mid-July, as the lockdown deepened, domestic flights to and from the hardest-hit or so-called “dark red” provinces have been suspended.

The number of daily infections slid slightly again today back down to 15,972 from a peak of more than 20,000 earlier this month. Still, 256 fatalities were reported this morning.

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