Fears of inundation have diminished in Central Bangkok as the city’s flood defenses held up over the weekend, when coastal tides reached their peak. Although some dykes overflowed, many commercial strongholds in the Thai capital have remained dry. Floodwaters from north of the capital city also began to recede on October 29.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has expressed optimism that Central Bangkok will most likely be spared by the floods.
Over the weekend, throngs of Bangkokians and tourists jammed the Suvarnabhumi Airport for flights leaving the city. To cope with the surging number of passengers, Thai Airways is increasing its capacity. The airline has released a statement announcing the use of larger aircraft to destinations in the southern part of Thailand whenever needed. Boeing 747 might be used on the Bangkok-Phuket, Bangkok-Hat Yai and Bangkok-Krabi routes if there is demand.
While seats are being filled up on flights out of Bangkok, demand for flights into the city are seeing a drop, prompting more airlines to cancel services. Last week, Cathay Pacific announced flight cancellations. Singapore Airlines has also followed suit by suspending its Singapore-Bangkok (SQ 974) and Bangkok-Singapore (SQ 977) flights from November 1 to 3. Customers affected by the cancellations will be re-accommodated to other flights. Meanwhile, Malaysian Airlines and low-cost carrier Air Asia are still operating their Bangkok services as usual.
According to the government’s public relations department website, major tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Krabi and Phuket have not been affected by the floods. While Bangkok has been spared from the worst so far, the flood risk is not entirely over yet for the country.
Communities near northern Bangkok are facing increasing risk as massive runoff from the north is pushing its way downwards towards the gulf. Large areas of provinces north of Bangkok are likely to remain swamped for several weeks, according to the government. As of now, seven out of the 50 districts in Bangkok are heavily flooded, with most of them situated along the northern and western edge of the city.
The floods have left approximately two million people affected, and close to 400 dead.