The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) declared an extension in its existing travel restrictions until April 18 as the government ramps up efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections.
Bangkok Post reported that “the decision was taken in response to growing concerns among officials that healthcare facilities in the country, including quarantine venues, will be overwhelmed if international arrivals are allowed to resume.”
The extension further hammers the airline industry and leaves Thai Airways with another year of struggle.
“The aviation industry in 2020 will still face challenges from the COVID-19 virus which has become widespread … in many countries, causing Thailand and the governments of various countries to prohibit or advise their citizens to refrain from traveling to countries that [have confirmed cases], which inevitably affects the aviation and tourism industry,” said Thai Airways President Sumeth Damrongchaitham.
Last month, the legacy carrier announced that it has recorded a 12 billion-baht ($383 million) net loss in 2019. This marks the third consecutive year that Thai Airways faced a revenue drop.
The airline’s net loss last year was larger by nearly 4% compared to 2018. In total, it had already loss up to 184 billion baht in income.
Certainly, the ban on flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic will make Thai Airway’s problems soar anew.
It has cancelled majority of its international flights and is preparing to shut down most of its capacity.
The state-owned airline just celebrated its 60th founding day last week with hopes that it will get back into business sooner. Unfortunately, it may take longer for the airline to have this vision realized as the fast-spreading pandemic pushes the extension of border restrictions worldwide.