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Airlines set to return as ban on domestic flights ends

Airlines set to return as ban on domestic flights ends

PHUKET: AirAsia and Nok Air are both set to resume domestic flights to Phuket on Friday (May 1), the day after the ban on all domestic flights is due to end. The move to relaunch services came before any clear resolution by the Phuket Governor whether or not he intended to lift the “Tambon Lockdown”, banning all non-essential travel between the 17 subdistricts on the island.

By The Phuket News

Monday 27 April 2020, 07:07PM

A worker repaints the runway centerline at Phuket airport this past week. Photo: Phuket International Airport

A worker repaints the runway centerline at Phuket airport this past week. Photo: Phuket International Airport

As of today (Apr 27) it has been confirmed Nok Air is to fly one daily flight to and from Don Mueang International Airport Bangkok. Flight DD7505, provided by a B737-800, is to depart Don Mueang at 11:25am and land in Phuket at 12:45pm. The return flight is to take off from Phuket at 1:20pm and land in Bangkok at 2:40pm.

AirAsia is to initially provide four flights a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The regular flight from Bangkok was to depart Don Mueang at 7:35am and land in Phuket at 9am, at ticket prices from just over B2,000. The return flight was to take off from Phuket at 9:30am and land at Don Mueang at 10:55am, at ticket prices starting from just over B1,700 to just over B3,300. Earlier bookings saw starting prices fall just under B1,500.

A customer service staffer at Nok Air told The Phuket News that Nok Air intends to operate its daily flight regardless of the “Tambon Lockdown” in effect in Phuket – the only province in the country with such a restriction.

“The customer must figure out what the Phuket Governor has ordered. We can’t tell what each customer needs to account for as the [COVID-19 health] requirements depend on each province’s policy,” she said.

“Staff will be at the check-in counters at Phuket International Airport on the day the flights resume service,” the staffer said.

“Customers can check flight status on our website. Currently we have not issued a press release specifically announcing the Phuket flights,” she added.

AirAsia was more difficult to obtain confirmation from. The AirAsia office at the Phuket airport was closed when the Phuket News called on Monday. Calls to the airline’s call centre at 02-515-9999 saw enquiries redirected to the chat bot AVA on the airline’s main website. AVA was unable to confirm or clarify the status of any flights to or from Phuket from May 1 onwards.

In announcing the relaunch of domestic flights, AirAsia Thailand CEO Santisuk Klongchaiya last Friday (Apr 24) said, “…after closely monitoring the pandemic situation and a relaxation in government controls, AirAsia has decided to resume domestic operations from 1 May 2020 providing services for guests who need to travel, whether for personal or business reasons.”

The decision was reached after consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand as well as other carriers, he added.

The airline will be observing strict health controls in compliance with the regulations set by the Ministry of Public Health and Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, including seat distancing onboard, mask wearing throughout flights and suspension of food and beverage service. AirAsia will also be disinfecting all airplanes and shuttle buses daily to ensure the highest level of safety for all guests and staff.

“Our highest priority in returning to service is the health and wellbeing of our guests and staff, with strict hygiene controls in place, against the spread of COVID-19. For the sake of our passengers and personnel, we are implementing additional measures and regulations to ensure their safety when traveling with us,” Mr Santisuk said.

 Among the additional measures are:

1. Guests will be distanced with alternate seating and appropriate controls right from booking. The airline will sell a limited number of seats on every flight in accordance with social distancing measures. Social distancing will also be enforced on the shuttle bus as well as in the service counters.

2. Guests will be required to wear their own face masks throughout their journey including during check-in and baggage claim.

3. Strictly no consumption of food and beverage onboard. AirAsia’s meals service will be temporarily discontinued.

4. Guests are to be screened in accordance with airport regulations, including body temperature scan during boarding. Passengers with a body temperature above 37.3°C or exhibiting symptoms including sneezing or coughing will be denied travel.

5. Only one piece of personal baggage such as a laptop bag or a ladies’ handbag or a small bag weighing no more than 5 kilograms will be permitted as carry-on baggage. The size must not exceed the dimension of 40cm (H) x 30cm (W) x 10cm (D) and fit under the seat in front of the passenger. For other additional baggage within allowed 7 kilograms will be checked in with no additional cost. This is to facilitate social distancing especially during embarkation and disembarkation.

6. Guests are recommended to perform self-check-in via the AirAsia mobile app or kiosks to reduce personal contact.

In addition, the cabin crew and other involved operational staff performing duties on the flight will be checked for body temperature every time before and after the duty, including wearing protective equipment such as masks, goggles and gloves throughout the service.

AirAsia will disinfect its airplanes, shuttle buses, service counters and check-in kiosks on a daily basis. All AirAsia aircraft are fitted with hospital-grade HEPA Filters that protect against 99.999% of particles and airborne contaminants such as viruses and bacteria

Guests may check and book available flights via www.airasia.com, the AirAsia mobile application or at AirAsia sale-counters at airports across Thailand.

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Kurt | 28 April 2020 - 10:48:54

A just dumb 100% Tambons lockdown is not serving the reality. I red there are hungry thai people on Phuket. Unbelieveble that Government did let things go that far. The richest thai province, no water from the tap, no food for some people. Is this the way to govern?

Kurt | 28 April 2020 - 10:43:37

Is there, on 28 April, still a complete absence of tuning between/among Phuket airport, Airlines and Phuket provincial hall? Can arriving passengers on 01 May pass the Tambon lock downs? Are there hotels reopening? Time to inform the people. And time to reconsider/update the Tambon lockdown.  Open up were possible, make it more strict where needed. Do some thinking, start 'tailoring'

Dave_C | 28 April 2020 - 09:27:25

With the resumption of flights on May 1, we deserve to be notified at this stage, the Province stand on tambon lockdowns. No notification at this stage is irresponsible.


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