Incoming flights ban extended to May 31

Incoming flights ban extended to May 31

A flight information panel at Suvarnabhumi airport shows cancelled flights. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A flight information panel at Suvarnabhumi airport shows cancelled flights. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on Monday decided to extend the ban on all incoming flights for another month, on continuing worries about the coronavirus pandemic.

The aviation regulator announced the extension ahead of the scheduled expiry date, April 30, on the grounds that the situation was worsening. The ban was also in support of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration's battle to control the pandemic outbreak in Thailand, it said.

The announcement did not explain why CAAT believes the situation is getting worse, with many countries now looking to relax some restrictions. 

Thailand reported nine new cases and one more death on Monday, when it was also announced the government was extending the Emergency Decree for one more month, to May 31.

The flight ban, also extended to May 31, exempts state and military aircraft, ands aircraft making an emergency landing or a technical landing without disembarkation.

It also spares humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights as well as repatriation and cargo flights.

CAAT director Chula Sukmanop had earlier indicated the need to keep the ban after it expires at the end of this month.

The decision will affect international airlines planning to resume commercial flights to Thailand, including Philippines AirAsia, which has announced the resumption of its Manila-Bangkok service from May 1.

Thailand remains at 58th in the global ranking of Covid-19 cases, which is currently led by the United States.

With confirmed cases worldwide poised to pass the 3-million mark, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, told a briefing on Monday the world situation was still serious.

On Sunday, Dr Taweesilp pointed to rising cases in neighbouring countries as the main concern for the centre, although the situation in Thailand was improving. He was worried about virus imports that could reverse the trend.

Cases have increased in Singapore, Indonesia and the Phillipines, according to the CCSA.


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