Thailand has officially reopened many domestic flight routes and train services nationwide, in a new lifting of travel restrictions, previously imposed on the Kingdom to contain the coronavirus. Following government approval, several domestic airlines have already taken to the skies, including Nok Air, AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, and Thai Vietjet Air.
Flight networks are now operating out of Bangkok’s Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports, traveling to 14 airports nationwide (Lampang, Mae Sot (Tak), Phitsanulok, Buri Ram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Roi Et, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, and Krabi). Phuket airport will remain closed until 15th May.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) confirmed that they will resume services on train routes to eight selected destinations. Passengers wishing to travel on the newly opened rail services can seek information via the 24-hour SRT Customer Services or at the help booth in all railway stations.
Despite the new relaxing in travel restrictions, all domestic flights and rail services will continue to operate under stringent safety controls, as Thailand begins its transition from Emergency Decree. These safety measures include social distancing during departure, transit, and arrival, as well as compulsory face masks for all passengers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear for the crew.
Nattapong Saengsirirattana, who is managing director of Thai Leisure Co., has highlighted the financial implications of COVID-19 safety measures on airlines; a consideration that is likely to limit the number flights initially available. “With social distancing measures, small planes would most likely be able to fit a maximum of two passengers per row, seated at the window,” said Nattapong. “Due to the new restrictions, they (airlines) are also losing income from in-flight F&B purchases,” he added.
Although travel restrictions remain in place, the latest news represents a positive step towards the reopening of transport networks and tourism nationwide. Following the official relaxation of lockdown measures on 3rd May, the return of domestic air and rail travel adds to a growing sense of optimism. Panorama Destination will continue to monitor the COVID-19 news as it happens in Thailand, and will post regular updates to our social media channels: