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Airline Eyes Lifting the Suspension of Test & Go Program

Published: January 17, 2022 at 6:19 pm

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The Airlines Association of Thailand believes the government must resume the Test & Go entry program immediately. The program was recently stopped due to the fast spread of the Omicron variant globally. CEO of Bangkok Airways, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth believes the program was successful in increasing foreign tourist arrivals to the country, and airline companies are eager to see it revived.

Puttipong told the Bangkok Post that the Thai government must analyze the situation and restart the Test & Go program depending on the number of severe infections. After the Test & Go has been suspended, foreign arrivals can only choose between required quarantine in Bangkok or one of Thailand’s sandbox programs. If they choose the sandbox entry program, new arrivals must stay a minimum of seven nights either in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, or Koh Samui and then test negative for Covid-19 before traveling further in Thailand.

Puttipong is encouraging the government to reconsider its stance on the Omicron variant which causes mild symptoms in vaccinated individuals. He emphasizes that airlines already adhere to strict health and safety measures. While domestic flights may resume after it is determined that Omicron is less serious compared to the previous variants, it will not be enough to support Thailand’s aviation and tourism industry..

“If Omicron is less severe, domestic flights will resume, but this will not be enough to support the industry. Thailand’s tourism industry needs the overseas market to operate at full capacity”

Chairman and CEO of Thai Lion Air Aswin Yangkirativorn believe the government’s response to the Omicron variant, specifically, the decision to discontinue the Test & Go program that has caused high uncertainty for the aviation industry. He adds that Thai Lion Air has no plans to resume international flights and urges the government to increase support for domestic tourism via the implementation of stimulus measures and incentives that would encourage more locals to travel.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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