Local airlines in no rush to serve Phuket

Local airlines in no rush to serve Phuket

Empty sunbeds are seen around the swimming pool of a hotel which has opened for visitors in Karon, Phuket. (Reuters photo)
Empty sunbeds are seen around the swimming pool of a hotel which has opened for visitors in Karon, Phuket. (Reuters photo)

Local airlines are still reluctant to join the Phuket sandbox model due to travel regulations and unstable tourism demand.

Since the third wave of the pandemic hit in April, demand has plunged as many provinces have imposed travel restrictions on people from red zones like Bangkok, said Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation Plc (AAV), the largest shareholder of Thai AirAsia.

Therefore, airlines must be cautious before resuming the route, including international locations that connect to Phuket.

"We won't rush international services in the early stages of the sandbox as tourist demand is unstable, particularly as vaccinated tourists will be forced to roam the island for 14 days," he said.

The government recently changed entry regulations for inoculated tourists to Phuket, expanding compulsory stays on the island from 7 days to 14 days. Visitors are also required to submit three swab tests even if they show negative results prior to arrival.

Mr Tassapon said if airlines choose to operate this route but receive few bookings, it might have to cancel the flight which will annoy tourists who have already booked.

At present, Thai AirAsia is using just two aircraft from its fleet of 59.

Thai Lion Air said travel regulations are a key concern preventing airlines from flying international routes to Phuket as there is still no clarity on the entry process.

The airline will wait until the fourth quarter to see if there is reliable demand.

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  • annoy: to make someone angry or upset - ทำให้รำคาญใจ
  • cautious: careful to avoid danger - ระมัดระวังไม่ให้เกิดขึ้น
  • clarity: the ability to be easily seen, heard or understood - ความชัดเจน
  • compulsory: if something is compulsory, you must do it because of a rule or law - ที่จำเป็นต้องทำ
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • demand: the amount of a product or service that people want - ความต้องการ
  • force (verb): to make someone do something that they don't want to do - บังคับ
  • inoculation (noun): an act of protecting a person or an animal from catching a particular disease by injecting them with a mild form of the disease - การฉีดวัคซีน,
  • plunge: to fall quickly from a high position - ดิ่งลงมาจากท้องฟ้า
  • reluctant: not willing to do something - อย่างไม่เต็มใจ อย่างลังเลใจ
  • rush: to move or do something very quickly - รีบเร่ง, วิ่ง
  • swab (noun): an act of taking a sample from somebody's body, with a swab - การเก็บตัวอย่างโดยใช้ฟองน้ำ ผ้า สำลีหรือวัตถุซับอื่น ๆ
  • unstable: likely to change or move instead of staying the same - ไม่มั่นคง, ไม่สม่ำเสมอ
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