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Covid-19 sinking Thai aviation deeper, CAAT warns

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Bangkok Airways is one of seven airlines set to receive financial aid from the Thai government. AFP

Covid-19 sinking Thai aviation deeper, CAAT warns

Thailand's aviation industry is still moving in a downward trajectory due to uncertainty over the Covid-19 outbreak among Thai and foreign tourists, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said on July 31.

It said the volume of passengers and flights in the second quarter of this year dropped by 35.5 per cent and 27.8 per cent year-on-year, respectively.

Meanwhile, the volume of air freight has slightly risen by 0.01 per cent compared to the same period last year, it added.

Citing the Bank of Thailand’s forecast, the CAAT said many negative sentiments pressured the aviation industry, such as the vaccination rate and sluggish recovery in the tourism sector’s recovery.

“If the government can procure and distribute 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines within this year, herd immunity is expected to be created within the first quarter of next year which is too late because the country’s tourism season will begin from October this year,” the CAAT explained.

The CAAT said the slowdown in the tourism sector’s recovery also affected the aviation industry because Thailand was unable to ease quarantine measures within the second quarter of this year, while the crisis is likely to prolong.

It added that the number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand this year is expected to drop to 700,000 people and 10 million people next year, compared to the previous forecast of three million people this year and 21.5 million people in 2022.

“The authority does not expect the aviation industry to recover significantly this year as the Covid-19 crisis is becoming more severe, while Thailand has imposed travel restrictions which directly affect the tourism sector,” the CAAT said.

Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the six airports in July saw 10,000 travellers per day, down 80 per cent year-on-year.

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