Phuket Sandbox travellers can fly out starting next month

Phuket Sandbox travellers can fly out starting next month

Tourists pose for pictures at Mai Khao beach in Phuket in 2019. Mai Khao beach is a popular destination for tourists looking to snap a few selfies with planes as they approach directly overhead, flying low before landing on the runway. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Tourists pose for pictures at Mai Khao beach in Phuket in 2019. Mai Khao beach is a popular destination for tourists looking to snap a few selfies with planes as they approach directly overhead, flying low before landing on the runway. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Domestic flights catering to Phuket Sandbox travellers will be allowed at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, starting next month, says a source at the Transport Ministry.

Flights at the airports have been suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) due to the Covid-19 outbreak, causing inconvenience to tourists under the tourism reopening programme.

The aviation regulator issued a ban on commercial domestic flights to destinations in provinces hardest-hit by Covid-19, the so-called dark red zones, on July 21. Affected are Suvarnabhumi in Samut Prakan and Don Mueang in Bangkok.

According to the source, CAAT is prepared to relax the flight ban at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports to cater to the sandbox visitors.

Passengers arriving from Phuket are required to complete the 14-day programme if they want to travel to Bangkok or other provinces.

However, foreign visitors who are unable to complete the programme but want to return home are also allowed to fly but they cannot leave the airport. The transit/transfer period is extended from 12 to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Thai Airways International (THAI) said it has adjusted flight operations to accommodate changes in air travel demand and Covid-19 restrictions.

According to THAI executive Nont Kalintha, the carrier will operate two domestic flights between Bangkok and Phuket per week until October.

Phuket-bound TG922 will leave every Thursday while Bangkok-bound TG916 will leave Phuket on Fridays. Flights are expected to start in September in line with the CAAT's announcement.

The airline also plans one return flight on the Bangkok-Phuket-Frankfurt route leaving Bangkok every Thursday and one return flight on the Bangkok-Phuket-London route leaving Bangkok every Friday.

The carrier also plans to offer two routes -- Bangkok-Paris-Phuket-Bangkok and Bangkok-Zuric-Phuket-Bangkok -- per week leaving Bangkok every Thursday and Friday respectively.

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