Thailand Extends Flight Ban; Flag Carrier Furloughs Staff

Thai Airways has put most of its staff on leave through May.
Credit: Joe Pries

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has extended the temporary ban on all international flights to the country from April 6 to April 18 as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

Under the restrictions, no passenger flights are allowed to land in Thailand, with the exception of cargo flights, emergency landings, medical flights, repatriation flights, state aircraft and technical landings.

Thai Airways has stopped all passenger flying since April 1, although cargo operations are still running on some routes. The airline has asked most of its employees to take leave until May 31, as well as 10-50% pay cuts. 

According to the Bangkok Post, the flag carrier has issued the so-called “8502 relief code” that entitles employees to an “assistance pay package” that varies depending on the employee’s role. It was reported that executive VP level employees will receive assistance money worth half of their monthly paychecks and VPs will get around 60% of their pay. Entry level staff, with salaries of no more than THB20,000 ($608) a month, will get 90% of their pay. 

Seven other Thai airlines—mainly LCCs—have asked for THB16 billion ($490 million) in financial aid from the Thai government.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.