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Flight times cut, checks ramped up

THAILAND: The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has issued a new guideline recommending stricter COVID-19 control measures for all domestic flights, following the detection of new infections linked with seven recent flights to and from Phuket airport.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 3 May 2021, 09:32AM

Travellers walk to the gates at Don Mueang airport. Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai.

Travellers walk to the gates at Don Mueang airport. Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai.

On Saturday (May 1), the Phuket COVID-19 information centre requested that 157 passengers on board seven recent domestic flights be tested and go into quarantine after cases were diagnosed on their planes.

The centre also released seating charts highlighting those who had sat nearest the sources of infection.

In the new guideline issued by the CAAT, which took effect on Saturday, all airlines are being asked for cooperation to limit the number of flights between 11pm and 4am.

This is to avoid causing hold-ups in passengers’ journeys and keep the flight schedules in line with the running times of other public transport services.

Airports are now required to take both passenger and visitor temperatures on entry and exit, with airport officials responsible for promptly alerting local health authorities to anyone a reading higher than 37.5C or who displays visible signs of illness.

All airlines are also advised to ensure in-flight social distancing, while both airlines and airports are required to notify passengers that they have to avoid travelling in the event they are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are contacts of a confirmed case.

If they flout the directive they may face legal action under the Disease Control Act.

Meanwhile, the Department of Airports yesterday issued a new order for all airports to step up COVID-19 control measures as well after detection of new COVID-19 infections connected with the seven flights operated by three airlines to and from Phuket airport on April 15.

Aphirat Chaiyawongnoi, director-general of the department, said every airport is required to work together with heath authorities in screening visitors for COVID-19 by means of body temperature scanning.

All visitors to any airports and air passengers are now required to wear a face mask throughout their visit to the airports and while aboard the aircraft, said Mr Aphirat.

Among other heightened COVID-19 control measures ordered by the department are that airports disinfect passengers’ luggage and clean up and sanitise airport spaces and equipment more frequently, he said.

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Christy Sweet | 03 May 2021 - 12:46:51

Perfect conditions for The Mother Of All Variants to arise. Thank you for flying SARS Air  and Welcome to the Phuket Petri Dish where we closed the UV drenched, wind swept beaches  but kept inside dining  restaurants open. 

Fascinated | 03 May 2021 - 11:43:56

its all a bit silly- spaced seating in the airport then at least one airline crams people onto buses. First wave there were spaces between the passengers on the planes now all rows are filled with no distancing.

Kurt | 03 May 2021 - 09:48:04

Passengers now not able to fly between 11pm and 4 am are now joining flights at other times of the day. Making domestic flights more full.
How many flights were there actually between 11 pm and 4 am?  Sounds more as a excuse to do not any night work and cut costs, rather than Covid-19 fighting.


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