The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has ordered airlines and airports to make urgent adjustments after acknowledging long queues for Thai Airways flights at Suvarnabhumi airport.
The early morning flight check in delays at the Thai Airways counters in Suvarnabhumi Airport was caused by a lack of check-in staff at the Thai Airways counters, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.
For their part, Thai Airways conceded they were under-staffed and that “more staff will now be added”. Airline executives were on the scene trying to sort out the delays and keep passengers informed of the situation. They also deny that anyone missed flights because of the check-in mayhem.
Despite Friday’s early morning queues for Thai Airways flights, 24 of the national carrier’s planes remain mothballed or in-waiting for a return to services, and have been parked in the same spots for most of the last 2 years. Two of the airline’s monster A380 planes still have their engine covers on and gathering dust while The Thaiger counted at least 6 Boeing 777 planes, mostly used for international flights, that continue to wait for a return to service at the northern end of the airport’s apron.
As Thailand’s borders re-open and travel restrictions continue to be eased, international travel is starting to pick up, albeit slowly. Domestic travel has stagnated since the April flourish of tourists which included a major lifting of restrictions on April 1 (removing all testing for vaccinated travellers), Songkran and a long weekend.
Since April there’s been a levelling off of domestic travel although international arrivals have been gradually picking up. All domestic airlines are still operating on a much-reduced schedule of destinations and flight frequency. There are also three Thai airlines now under administration working through their bankruptcy – Thai Airways, Nok Air and Thai Air Asia X (not their domestic division).
Local flights around Thailand still require passengers to wear masks at all times, socially distance inside the terminal (although it doesn’t seem to matter on the planes), and there’s still no catering services available on flights at this stage.
Tourism officials are expecting inbound travel to start picking up more swiftly over the next few weeks. In April Thailand welcomed 293,350 foreign arrivals, an increase of 39% from March. About 60-70% of these are thought to be people travelling for tourism.