Mr Pongpanu gave the order yesterday (Sept 17), and requested that Phuket Tourist Police also keep him informed on the latest developments after the mass flight cancellations due to Typhoon Mangkhut making landfall in China.
“Tourist Assistance Centre for Phuket Province (TAC Phuket) officials must keep a close watch on this situation and provide assistance to tourists, especially Chinese nationals.
“Also Tourist Police have to provide security for the tourists affected. Both (TAC Phuket and Tourist Police) are to follow up on this and report back to Bangkok headquarters every 24 hours,” Mr Pongpanu said.
The TAC Phuket office reported the 19 flights affected on Sunday as:
- KA213 – Cathay Dragon, Phuket to Hong Kong
- TG608 – THAI, Phuket to Hong Kong
- CZ6094 – China Southern Airlines, Phuket to Shenzhen
- KA265 – Cathay Dragon, Phuket to Hong Kong
- NS3522 – Hebei Airlines, Phuket to Shijiazhuang (capital and largest city of North China’s Hebei Province)
- HU798 – Hainan Airlines, Phuket to Shenzhen (on China mainland opposite Hong Kong)
- MF8680 – Xiamen Air, Phuket to Fuzhou (capital of southeastern China’s Fujian province)
- CZ8464 – China Southern Airlines, Phuket to Zhengzhou ( capital of east-central China’s Henan province)
- HO1314 – Juneyao Airlines, Phuket to Shanghai
- UO764 – Hong Kong Express Airways, Phuket to Hong Kong
- MF8690 – Xiamen Air, Phuket to Xiamen (on China’s southeast coast, across from Taiwan)
- GS7954 – Tianjin Airlines, Phuket to Chongqing (in southwest China, formerly romanized as Chungking)
- BK2868 – Okay Airways, Phuket to Tianjin
- CZ650 – China Southern Airlines, Phuket to Guiyang (capital of Guizhou Province)
- FM858 – Shanghai Airlines, Phuket to Shanghai
- HO1322 – Juneyao Airlines, Phuket to Shanghai
- HO1346 – Juneyao Airlines, Phuket to Nanjing
- 9C8974 – Spring Airlines, Phuket to Shanghai
- EK379 – Emirates airlines, Phuket to Dubai
Of note, it was not explained why the Emirates flight was affected.
A TAC Phuket official told The Phuket News this morning (Sept 18) that officers provided assistance for tourists by helping them to change their flight tickets without incurring any extra cost.
“We don’t know how many passengers were affected on Sunday. Phuket International Airport public relations did not tell us. All we were informed were the 19 flight numbers,” said the official, who asked not to be named.
“There was no need to provide any meals, and the tourists who needed to stay overnight were taken to nearby hotels. None of the affected tourists had to sleep overnight at the airport,” the official added.
A public relations staffer at Phuket International Airport, who also declined to be named, confirmed this morning that 10 flights were cancelled yesterday due to the weather in Phuket.
“And 23 flights were cancelled due to the weather at their point of origin, while four flights were delayed from departing their point of origin due to the weather there,” the staffer said.
“Today (Sept 18), 10 flights have been delayed so far,” the staffer added.
Oddly, the staffer also explained, “Whether flights are cancelled depends on the airline pilot.”
No explanation was given as to whether any decisions are made by air safety regulators at Phuket airport in deciding whether aircraft are permitted to take off or land in Phuket for safety reasons.
The staffer also refused to identify which flights had been affected today.
“We can’t reveal the flight number due to the conditions with the airlines,” the staffer said.
“You have call the tourist centre at 1722,” the staffer added.
The bout of heavy weather across Phuket comes 11 years nearly to the day since One-Two-GO Airlines Flight 269 crashed on the runway at Phuket airport, killing 89 of the 130 persons on board, on Sept 16, 2007.