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Governor to request Phuket airport to reopen

Governor to request Phuket airport to reopen

PHUKET: The Phuket Governor will request the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to allow Phuket International Airport re-open to limited domestic flights starting this Saturday (May 16).

COVID-19Coronavirushealthtransport
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 13 May 2020, 05:22PM


The news came at the meeting of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee at Provincial Hall today (May 13).

Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana explained at the meeting that the formal request will ask for Phuket airport to resume operations from 00:01am Saturday (May 16).

The airport currently remains closed to all flights except government and or military aircraft; emergency landings; technical landing aircraft without passengers leaving the plane; aircraft providing humanitarian or medical aid; cargo aircraft; and any aircraft granted permission to repatriate foreigners to their home countries.

The airport has been closed since April 3 following an order by Dr Chula Sukmanop, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

The closure was then extended three times, first by CAAT Director Dr Chula, and again on April 10, and then again on May 1, this time at the request of Governor Phakaphong.

The current order for the airport to remain closed is set to expire at midnight this coming Friday night.

Soonthorn Sakdasawit from the Airports of Thailand management team at Phuket International Airport (AoT Phuket) explained three airlines – Air Asia, Nokair, and Vietjet – have confirmed to operate one round-trip serve between Phuket and Bangkok every day.

Only about 120 passengers will be permitted per flight due to the health regulations in effect to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, he added.

“There must be space between each passenger and some seats arranged for passengers who have suspicious symptoms during the flight,” he said.

The airport had been closed for 35 days, Mr Soonthorn noted.

“AoT Phuket has already arranged screening measures and installed five thermo scanners in areas of the airport,” he added.

Of note, Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai inspected Phuket airport for its readiness to reopen yesterday (May 12).

ZENITHY POOL VILLAS

Currently all inbound international passenger flights are banned from entering Thailand under an order by the CAAT that at this stage is set to remain in effect until May 30.

The CAAT allowed limited domestic flights within Thailand to resume on May 1, with Nok Air, AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Thai Vietjet Air reinstating flights between 14 provinces, but not Phuket, after a month-long suspension.

Further, a new order issued by the CAAT issued on May 3 granted permission to a slew of airports to operate special international flights, such as those repatriating foreign nationals or flying home Thai citizens, between 7am and 7pm each day.

That CAAT order allowed all international airports, including Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Samui, Surat Thani, Hat Yai and Hua Hin to handle special status international flights.

Meanwhile, Governor Phakaphong today explained that the move to open the airport comes as the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee seeks to re-open all “ports of entry” to the island, including by road or sea.

All persons arriving on the island will have to complete a form confirming that they have entered Phuket and install the “Mor Chan” app “so officials can follow up  on disease investigation”, he said.

Governor Phakahaphong did not clarify whether the Mor Chan app includes tracking features.

“All arrivals on the island must observe a home quarantine,” Governor Phakaphong said.

He did not clarify whether any persons arriving on the island must first complete a 14-day self-quarantine and obtain a “Fit to Travel” permit from officials, as is currently required by any persons leaving the island in order to travel back to their home provinces. 

“More details will be available later,” Governor Phakaphong said.

However, the Governor tempered any optimism for the island reopening with a warning that any decisions to reopen Phuket’s borders must first be approved by the Ministry of Interior in Bangkok.

“The province has proposed this [to happen] on May 16,” he said.

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LALALA | 14 May 2020 - 10:23:41

Harald, nothing to add, agree with you... corona virus has been a part of the flue since decades with a ratio of up to 15percent, its nothing else like this.

lovingPhuket | 13 May 2020 - 21:50:31

Will people need to quarantine when they get to Bangkok? Will they need a fit to fly note before boarding. Just some basics please may be useful.

harald | 13 May 2020 - 20:51:09

can somebody tell him, forget all restrictions and open phuket again complitly, because the flu is over since days. and tell him too, flu comes alone and flu goes alone as time goes by

LALALA | 13 May 2020 - 18:03:41

'All arrivals on the island must observe a home quarantine' and must install a tracking app... so he basically can keep the airport closed for inbound...only good news is that it starts to move...heard a rumor that Turkish airlines and Air Astana planning to fly BKK scheduled from June 15th... i hope thats true

 

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