8 Covid-hit airlines get CAAT boost
Eight domestic airlines rated as being in critical financial health have been boosted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), which says they aren't going bankrupt and it still has faith they can stay in business.
The alarming assessment of their plight merely reflected a time last year when every airline in the world was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, CAAT director-general Suttipong Kongpool said on Wednesday.
Without the devastating impact of the pandemic, these airlines would have not been classified as being in such dire financial straits, he said.
The eight airlines are Thai Airways International Plc (THAI), Thai Smile Airways, Nok Air, AirAsia X, VietJet Air, Thai Lion Air, Asia Atlantic Airlines and City Airways, which are all registered in Thailand.
The airlines have met the CAAT and it has agree to consider their request to relax four regulations to help them cope better with the pandemic.
They have asked the authority to cancel the 70% maximum occupancy for each shuttle bus taking passengers to their planes, saying they don't have enough vehicles to adhere to that rule.
They have also requested a three-month extension of the temporary permission they've been granted to modify passenger aircraft for cargo transport, which is due to expire at the end of this month.
They also asked the CAAT to halve the four-week notice they must given to cancel a scheduled flight to two weeks. Many passengers were now leaving their flight plans until much closer to the time, said the CAAT boss.
However, the airlines' final call for passengers arriving from overseas to freely connect to domestic flights must first be referred to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said Mr Suttipong.