The news was announced in a notice posted on the official Facebook page of the Airports of Thailand (AoT) management at Phuket airport at 5:50pm today.
Governor Tavipatana explained in the notice that the extension of “temporary suspension of operations at the airport” was an extension of his request for AoT to cease operations at Phuket airport from April 10 to April 30.
That notice explained that the purpose of the formal notice was to inform the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) and other tourism-related offices so they could make preparations for the closure.
The notice today explained, “From the meeting today (Apr 29), the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee all agreed to extend the closure of Phuket International Airport for 15 days, from 00.01am of May 1 until 23.59pm of May 15.”
“According to COVID outbreak situation, Phuket has the second-highest number of infected people in the country and the highest infection rate (per capita) in the country. Even though the rate of infection is falling, we still have new confirmed cases every day [sic] in many areas of Phuket [sic],” the notice said.
“So we still have to screen and observe for people at risk,” it added.
“Hence, the Phuket Government still has necessary reason to control the port [airport] in order to prevent any outbreak,” the notice explained.
The extension of the closure will be in effect for 15 days from 00:01am May 1 through to 23:59pm May 15, the notice confirmed.
“We would like to inform the relevant officials to prevent local people and tourists from being affected, and other relevant sectors, who may be affected by this order,” the notice assured.
“If any relevant officials [are affected] and need to do anything that involves this order, please inform the Phuket Government as quickly as possible so consideration can be taken,” it added.
AirAsia and Nok Air had already committed flights – and taken bookings – for flights to and from Phuket ahead of the nationwide ban on domestic passenger flights ending on Friday (May 1).
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, or whether to extend the closure of the airport.
A customer service staffer at Nok Air told The Phuket News on Monday (Apr 27) 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.