Safety clamps as flights resume
No food or drinks on domestic routes
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has discussed with more than 20 airlines compulsory measures which must be adopted when most domestic flights resume on May 1.
CAAT director-general, Chula Sukmanop, said this week that while airlines have the right to return to the skies, they must operate these flights differently.
On Thursday, he said airlines must implement stringent public health safety measures both before and during flights.
They included designating empty seats in each row to keep passengers a fair distance from one another, while no food or drink is to be served during flights either.
On flights of 90 minutes or longer, the whole row at the back of an aircraft must be left vacant and reserved for passengers who display flu-like symptoms.
Passengers must bring their own face masks to wear on an aircraft but are barred from bringing their own food to eat on board.
Cabin crew must also wear face masks, gloves and a face shield for the duration of a flight.
On the ground, social distancing must be practised at check-in as well, Mr Chula said.
Meanwhile, the Airports of Thailand (AoT) has either waived or scrapped various fees on the use of airport facilities to assist businesses and airlines battered by the economic slump stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak.
The AoT announced on Thursday its board had approved an assistance package to be rolled out for tenants of commercial space at airports as well as airlines whose operations have ground to a halt as a result of the pandemic.
In the announcement, which was conveyed to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, rent on commercial or office space at airports will be waived for affected airlines and tenants.
The rent suspension will last nine months, until Dec 31, or before that, if shutdowns at airports are lifted and airlines and tenants are able to resume business sooner.
For businesses and airlines still operating, albeit partially, the AoT will cut rent by 50% until Dec 31.
The announcement also said that airports forced to close have waived parking charges for aircraft until the end of the year.
However, the finance minister will need to approve the waiver.
Many airlines have grounded their fleets as a result of the pandemic and parked their planes at airports.
Airlines still flying to some airports are being offered a 50% discount on landing and parking charges until the end of the year.
Airlines which operate charter flights are also eligible for the discount.
According to the AoT, airlines which take advantage of the rent waiver or discount will not be eligible for the discount or waiver on parking or landing fees.
The AoT will also permit businesses and airlines to pay rent, landing and parking charges as well as aircraft service charges over a maximum of nine instalments each lasting up to six months.
However, they must formally submit a request for payment deferrals with the AoT.