Thailand Expands Flight Slots to Boost Aviation Amid Industry Recovery

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In a strategic move announced by Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) is set to increase flight slots by 30-40%, aiming to meet the escalating demand at major airports such as Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. The decision comes as a response to the recovering aviation industry’s need for increased capacity, potentially aiding the return to pre-pandemic passenger levels.

The initiative is timely, considering the industry’s gradual resurgence and the government’s economic stimulus policies. Despite global challenges, the CAAT anticipates that the shortage of new planes will gradually ease, contributing to the industry’s anticipated expansion. Chiang Mai International Airport has already taken proactive measures by extending its operating hours.

CAAT Director-General Suttipong Kongpool highlighted a promising 74% increase in airline passengers, indicating a trajectory towards pre-pandemic levels. Projections hint at a substantial rise in arrivals, particularly from key tourist markets like China and India, during the latter half of the year.

As part of the comprehensive plan, the CAAT is exploring the acquisition of unused flight slots from the Royal Thai Air Force, further facilitating the increase in commercial flights. The allocation of these additional slots will be carefully managed, considering each airport’s capacity to handle the expected surge in air traffic. This strategic move aligns with Thailand’s efforts to revive its aviation sector and cater to the growing travel demands in the post-pandemic era.

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