Present to lead Dr Suwit on the tour of the facility was Phuket International Airport Deputy Director Wichit Kaewsaithiam, who showed Dr Suwit the equipment, staff and processes in place ready to allow passengers to arrive and depart Phuket via the airport.
Dr Suwit’s tour included an inspection of the Immigration arrivals hall, the check-in counters, baggage claim area and boarding gates.
Airport staff were given another live test last night as 78 people were reported borading Aurora Airlines Flight SHU5495, flying Phuket-Shanghai-Russia, at 9pm.
Aurora, a Russian Far East air carrier, is a subsidiary of Russian national flag-carrier Aeroflot. The airline reported 75 passengers taking the flight home.
The flight was organised by Russian embassy representatives as part of their ongoing campaign to repatriate Russian nationals stranded while the current international flight ban remains in effect until at least June 30.
As passengers made their way to the flight, they passed staff at the airport holding up cards spelling out “До скорой встречи”, Russian for “See you soon”.
Much expectation is pinned on Phuket airport reopening to domestic flights to help restart the island’s economy amid the economic fallout from the travel restrictions imposed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Airports of Thailand management team at Phuket airport (AoT Phuket) last week announced that they were ready to receive passengers under Phase 3 of the nationwide relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.
However, AoT Phuket made it plain in their announcement that they did not expect the airport to resume any regular operations before next Wednesday (June 16) as the current order by the Civil Aviation authority of Thailand (CAAT) to stop operations at Phuket airport is set to expire at 23:59pm on June 15, “unless otherwise ordered”.
Meanwhile, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok, the national authority overseeing all policy changes regarding COVID-19, has already announced that it expects to announce Phase 4 of the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions this Friday (June 12).