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Bangkok Airport: Protestors close Two Bangkok Airports

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Send to Friend Tuesday, 2 December 2008

 - See Latest: Bangkok Airports to Reopen -

Anti-government protesters are still controlling Thailand's impressive new International airport, Suvarnabhumi, an airport the Airports of Thailand (AOT) had hoped would eventually be ranked as one of the leading airports in the world.

Since Tuesday 25 November 2008, flights to and from Suvarnabhumi International airport have been cancelled. In addition to this, the old Don Muang Airport, which has some  international as well as domestic flights has also been closed by protestors.

Hundreds of thousands of Thai and foreign travellers, both in Thailand and outside wanting to get in, have had their travel plans seriously affected by these almost surreal tactics by the protestors.

While these protests which have been going on for months, are politically motivated, they are already having a very negative effect on Thai tourism, and consequently the economy. November is traditionally the start of the high season for tourism in Thailand, but around the country hotels were already quieter than normal, thanks in part to the weakened global economy and also the current unstable political situation. Reports of many more cancelations and less visitors as a whole can be widely expected now that travellers are being targeted in this way.

These negative actions by protestors, combined with a weakened global economy, do not paint a positive future for the Thai tourism industry. TAT and the industry as a whole, including neighboring feeder markets, have worked for years to to build Thailand's tourism industry and create a more positive overseas image. The industry is extremely resilient having overcome difficulties like 9/11, SARS and the '97 financial crisis, but how long it will take to overcome the problems caused by these protestors is very unclear, especially as we are nowhere near an actual outcome.

It is strongly suggested that travellers try to contact their airline, insurance company, embassy and / or travel agent if affected by these latest developments.

Some flights are being flown from U-Tapao which is close to Pattaya - around a couple of hours from Bangkok. Other travellers are taking matters into their own hands and travelling by land to other airports in Thailand from where they can then try and connect with International services. 

U-Tapao, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Phitsanulok, Khon Kaen, Hua Hin, Surat Thani, Hat Yai, Samui and Krabi all have airports which could be used by international airlines, but most travellers we have spoken to are connecting to flights via Phuket, Hat Yai and Chiang Mai.

Airlines are also advising passengers not to travel to U-Tapao directly, as it has very limited check-in facilities and is already overcrowded. Many airlines are offering complimentary bus services from Bangkok to U-Tapao. We are also getting reports that Thailand's two other biggest airports Chiang Mai and Phuket are also extremely busy, despite the fact that some airlines have also increased services to these airports.

It should also be noted that these special flights to and from U-Tapao are unlikely to continue for too much longer. Once stranded passengers have been returned, then most airlines will probably drop all of what some are calling 'relief' or 'rescue' flights to the old military airport. SAS has already confirmed that all its Bangkok operations will operate to and from Phuket until further notice, but some airlines may not have this option leading some to cancel flights to Thailand altogether.

Trains and buses to neighbouring countries are also alternative options.

TUESDAY 2 DECEMBER UPDATES:

- The Thai Court Decision passed today to dissolve the current government is in no way surprising, many in Bangkok were expecting this exact move by the courts. How it effects the siege of the two airports in Bangkok - Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang - and what the reactions to the decision will be, especially from pro-government supporters around Thailand is still extremely unclear. From a traveller's perspective, the decision itself is of little importance, instead it is what happens next they should monitor. More to follow.

- Thai Airways International is requesting passengers with confirmed reservations, departing from U-Tapao to check-in at BITEC Exhibition and Convention Center, Bang-Na, seven (7) hours prior to their flight departure. THAI will then provide transportation between BITEC and U-Tapao. The closest skytrain station to to BIEC is the On Nut.

- THAI is also providing transportation for passengers between U-Tapao Airport and Building 5, THAI’s Head Office on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok.

- Finnair's returning passengers are being brought from Bangkok via Phuket. Since Saturday, one repatriation flight per day has arrived in Helsinki. To date, Finnair has brought more than one thousand passengers back to Helsinki. From Wednesday 3 December, more than 500 passengers per day will be repatriated, when two flights per day fly from Phuket to Helsinki.

- As U-Tapao airport has now been stretched beyond its capacity, SAS has deemed it is not possible to continue its operations from that airport. SAS flights will instead be operated to and from Phuket in southern Thailand. SAS has said it will do its utmost to assist transport for passengers in Bangkok by bus to Phuket and vice versa.

- Bangkok Airways’ passengers traveling on routes between U-Tapao-Siem Reap/ U-Tapao-Luang Prabang/ U-Ttapao-Maldives/ U-Tapao-Guilin/ U-Tapao-Samui/ and U-Tapao-Phuket are able to check-in at Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) at Hall EH106, counter number 35-37, six hours prior to departure time. Flights from Hua Hin to Samui, passengers can also check in four hours prior departure, at Bangkok Airways’ Head Office (99 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road) where the airline has organised complimentary transportation to Hua Hin Airport.

- Qantas has confirmed it will operate a second relief flight between Phuket and Singapore early Wednesday 3 December. The airline operated its first on Monday evening. Passengers on these flights will be bussed from Bangkok to Phuket and then be booked on first
available Qantas and British Airways flights to Australia and the UK.

- Jetstar will today operate its scheduled Melbourne-Bangkok service tomorrow via Phuket, with passengers bussed between Phuket and Bangkok, and continue to operate its scheduled three-times-a-week Sydney-Phuket services.

MONDAY's 1 DECEMBER UPDATES:

Thai Airways International has requested its passengers with ticket reservations before 25 November 2008, traveling during 25 November – 31 December 2008, to contact reservation and ticketing offices to make new reservations. THAI’s Head Office is on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, THAI’s Larn Luang Office and THAI’s Silom Office at BUI Building, opposite AIA Building on Suriwongse Road.

- Jet Airways today confirmed it will Operate Two Flights from U-Tapao to India today.

- Thailand's PBair has moved its Aircraft and Crew to Hua Hin Airport.

- Empty Planes Fly from Closed Airport - Leaders of the protestors have given permission for around 88 planes to depart from Suvarnabhumi airport - empty - so they can be flown to other airports in the country and help to relieve the growing number of people stranded in Thailand through no fault of their own. More to follow.

See other recent news regarding: Airlines, Aviation, Flights, HotelsPromotions, New Hotels, Bangkok, Airports, Suvarnabhumi, Visitor Arrivals

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