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This article was first published 15 years ago  » Business » Bangkok airport crisis to continue till next week

Bangkok airport crisis to continue till next week

By Anirban Chowdhury in New Delhi
November 27, 2008 10:48 IST
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Travel agents are looking at cancellations of more than 60 per cent from passengers next week, even as all 40-odd daily flights between India and Bangkok were cancelled owing to the political turmoil in the country.

Travel agents have been told that the problems will last till the start of next week.

The India-Bangkok sector is operated by carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Thai Air, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines amongst others and travel companies say it constitutes more than 40 per cent of their business in the south east Asian market.

Thousands of protestors have laid siege to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, the world's 18th largest in terms of passenger traffic, as their latest mark of protest against the elected government.

This has caused a halt in all operations at the airport.

Many flights are also being diverted to the old airport at Don Meung, sources said.

"People are now shifting to other places like Macau, Sri Lanka and so on. We have received a lot of complaints from passengers who have already paid for their excess baggage among other things," said Tarun Yadav, owner of travel company Global Passages and director, IATA Agents Association of India.

Singapore Airlines also cancelled its five India-Bangkok flights yesterday and today and will keep them cancelled indefinitely.

"Given the current situation, it is difficult to say when the flights will be resumed. If  customers want to cancel, they will get refunds. We will waive all cancellations for tickets issued before November 26 for travel up to and including December 7," said a Singapore Airlines spokesperson.

Air India, which has also cancelled flights for tomorrow, had to divert two flights today to an adjacent airport, Utabao. "We have been given a NOTAM (no operations) till 6 pm Thai local time tomorrow after which they will take a call so we are not indefinitely cancelling our flights," a spokesperson said.  

All the same, travel agents are worried.

"If the unrest in Bangkok continues we are expecting cancellations in December which is the peak travel season and that would impact business as it comes over and above a slowdown," said Balbir Mayal, former president of Travel Agents Association of India.

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Anirban Chowdhury in New Delhi
Source: source

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