News

Bangkok airports closed to flights

26 Nov 2008 by Mark Caswell

The Thai capital’s main Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports are
currently closed, putting the travel plans of many thousands of passengers in
turmoil.

Thousands of PAD (People’s Alliance for Democracy) anti-government
protesters have occupied the terminals of both airports, forcing
the authorities to close the airport.

British Airways and Qantas, who fly every day to
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport from London en route for Sydney, Australia, say they are monitoring the
situation closely. In the short term both carriers will reroute
their flights.

Tonight’s flights BA9 and QF 1 will stop in Singapore rather than Bangkok
while tomorrow’s BA10 (out of Sydney)
will take the same routing.

BA says that Bangkok-bound passengers can fly
to Singapore instead but
onward travel (to Bangkok)
will be their own responsibility.

BA flights departing from London
or Sydney on and after November 27 are shown as
stopping in Bangkok
but a cautionary message on the BA website says that “The situation is under
constant review and changes to these services may take place at short notice.”

Qantas recommends that “Because we are unsure
of the duration of this unrest we recommend that all non-urgent travel to Thailand be
deferred.”

The PAD rallies and protests have been taking
place for a number of months. They have already impacted on tourist arrivals, with visitor numbers last September 16.5 per cent lower than the same month
last year.

It’s unclear when the volatile situation at the
airport will be resolved. It could be a matter of hours or even days before the
facility reopens.

For more flight information visit ba.com, qantas.com, and for more general news on the situation in Thailand visit bbc.co.uk/news, bangkokpost.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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