Thai AirAsia has announced that it will temporarily suspend domestic operations from Monday, 12th July 2021, to 31st July 2021. The announcement comes as Thailand battles a deadly COVID-19 wave.
Thai AirAsia, which is one of AirAsia’s biggest subsidiaries, is going into a 20-day ‘hibernation’. The tough decision by the airline comes as Thailand reported a record high total of over 9,000 cases and 90 deaths on Saturday. This means the Thai government has been pushing hard to contain infections and prevent the movement of travellers across the country.
As a result of this and the quickly falling passenger traffic, Thai AirAsia is suspending all domestic operations from 12th July to 31st July 2021. The airline in a statement said:
AirAsia always places the safety and wellbeing of its guests and employees as its top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be prepared to reinstate our scheduled flight services again as soon as possible.
Bangkok, the airline’s home base, is the centre of the outbreak and this complicates the situation even further. This means scheduled flights have fallen quickly as strict restrictions in the Thai capital are implemented in order to prevent the spread of virus as much as possible.
According to RadarBox.com, Thai AirAsia operated only about 15 flights within Thailand on Friday and Sunday. This is much lower flight numbers than usual, which would see hundreds of domestic flights ferrying passengers across the country. However, with very few international tourists and the domestic ones under lockdown, the airline has very less demand to cater to.
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Before the ban goes into effect tomorrow, Thai AirAsia is adding extra domestic flights on Sunday. Today, the airline is scheduled to operate around 40 additional domestic flights to get more people home or to Phuket under the Sandbox initiative.
If we talk about international flights, it is the same situation there also. Thai AirAsia is seeing little traffic there too. Tight travel restrictions in Asia means there are little to no destinations open to tourists presently. The only destination Thai AirAsia is flying to seems to be Malè, one of the few South Asian countries open to travelers with few restrictions, and Yangon. However, cargo flights will continue operating with no changes.
The graph above shows the fall in Thai AirAsia’s aircraft utilization. The second wave in Thailand means has resulted in May and June traffic figures falling to no less than 15% of those seen i. April.
Phuket is open
The holiday destination of Phuket is open to international tourists. Under the Phuket Sandbox initiative, fully vaccinated passengers from multiple countries can enter the island with no quarantine. Phuket reopened to international tourists on 1st July 2021 with hundreds of travellers entering the city since then. For now, it seems only this one city seems to be the part of Thailand not struggling with COVID-19.
Featured image by The Jakarta Post
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