Saturday’s announcement by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand means no inbound passenger flights to the kingdom until July 1st. The move will be another blow to stranded foreigners outside Thailand. It is also a signal to the country’s already devastated tourism industry and a huge number of informal workers who depend on it to survive, that there will be no quick return to normality.

Thailand is to remain closed off from external tourists and foreigners for at least 6 weeks after the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand announced on Saturday that the ban on incoming passenger flights was being extended until July 1st.

Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority, in a notice published on Saturday, has extended the ban on all inbound flights into the kingdom from May 31st to June 30th meaning it will be July 1st, at the earliest, before the kingdom sees any new arrivals for its already decimated tourism trade. It also means continued hardship and heartbreak for thousands of foreigners left cut off from family and loved ones in Thailand as well as their homes due to this crisis.

Thailand has just announced that it is extending its ban on incoming flights into the kingdom until July 1st at the earliest.

The announcement on Saturday is a further blow for the devastated tourism industry and for foreigners outside Thailand with family or homes that have been cut off since the ban was imposed at the beginning of April.

Tourism has dried up and died in Thailand

Since its imposition in early April, many tourism firms have closed their doors as the industry has dried up.

Some experts estimate that this has directly impacted over 5 million Thai workers employed by the tourism industry with over 3 million of those in the informal sector.

Tourism accounts for at least 20% of employment in Thailand although it only 12 % of the kingdom’s GDP.

The prolonged closure of the country to foreign tourism is now set to cause structural changes to the industry as more firms and tourism facilities close their doors permanently and people look elsewhere for employment.

Flights worldwide scaled back drastically as other governments respond to the virus emergency

It is not altogether clear what the direct impact of this decision in itself might be as many flights throughout the world have already been scaled back or cancelled.

Other governments worldwide have also imposed both inbound and outgoing flight bans while the biggest airlines have also radically suspended their international services.

Today’s announcement, nonetheless, is a signal that this emergency and its economic impact on Thailand is becoming more extensive.

Precludes access to external foreigners desperate to reach the kingdom until July 1st at the earliest

The ban on incoming flights precludes access to the kingdom to many foreigners who have an association with Thailand or who are particularly eager to travel here.

Many of those stranded outside Thailand have homes and families here and have not been able to be reconciled with loved ones or resume their lives in the kingdom.

Aviation authority simply stated it was a Covid 19 measure to prevent the spread of the disease

Today’s announcement did not give any explanation except other than that it was to prevent the spread of the Covid 19 disease.

The decision was made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand which has extended the ban imposed by Director-General, Chula Sukmanop, in early April which became effective on April 5th last.

At the time, it came after a mass refusal by hundreds of returning Thai nationals at Suvarnabhumi Airport to enter into quarantine on arrival as hey defied officials including a senior military officer.

All passenger flights are prohibited

The order prohibits all passenger flights from entering Thailand but allows military and cargo flights as well as specially approved flights such as regular repatriation missions being organised by Thai Airways in association with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Inbound flight ban makes outgoing flights more difficult to access and more expensive

The ban on inbound flights makes it more difficult also for those flying out of Thailand. 

Passenger flights are still leaving from Thai airports to many world destinations but the prices being quoted are at least 40% higher than normal and many involve complicated and risky self-transfer requirements.

This also has implications for many tourists and foreigners still stranded in the kingdom and hoping to fly home as soon as possible.

Some domestic flights have resumed in Thailand

Some domestic air travel has resumed in the kingdom in recent weeks with flights from Chiang Mai, Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Rai, Don Mueang and Hat Yai back in service. 

However, flights due to commence again on Saturday, May 16th from Phuket International Airport were cancelled in a surprise move by the national authority at the end of the week.

Further reading:

US actor and Thai son struggling to survive virus ordeal in India as they wait to fly home to life in Thailand

US man and 12-year-old Thai son face life on the streets in India if they cannot return to Thailand right now

Australian man’s heartbreak cut off from his Thai wife – begs to be included on repatriation flights

Spouses of Thai wives down under denied access to limited repatriation flights from Australia this week

Police to track down arrivals last night who escaped Suvarnabhumi Airport in defiance of emergency

Australian retiree is spending his own pension money on supporting the poor during the crisis in Chiang Mai

Stranded 66-year-old German tourist seeks help on the street from a Good Samaritan in central Bangkok

Police in Phuket await post mortem results after deaths of two elderly westerners last weekend at home

Stranded Russians offered free food in Phuket as Aeroflot begins to airlift over 21,000 stranded home to safety

Germans arrested for defying local authorities in Chiang Mai and removing Covid 19 checkpoint

City area popular with foreigners to be targeted by new lockdown measures in Pattaya from Tuesday

Challenge of defeating both a health and economic emergency a big ask for Thailand’s government in crisis mode

Conditions tighten, grow more tense for visitors staying on in Thailand during the to coronavirus emergency