BANGKOK — As domestic commercial flights are set to resume in May, ticket prices could nearly double following the Thai Civil Aviation Authority’s new regulations for fare calculations.
Chula Sukmanop, director of the aviation regulator, said domestic airlines will be allowed to charge up almost twice the fare implemented prior to the coronavirus pandemic, since many seats will be left empty to ensure physical distancing.
Prior to the outbreak, domestic low-cost airlines usually charged no more than 5 baht per kilometer for a flight within the kingdom. But the new regulation will permit them to charge up to 9.40, approximately an 80 percent increase.
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The decision was made after a meeting between CAAT and local airline operators on Thursday, Chula said.
During those flights, passengers are expected to endure extra discomforts as food and water will not be served or consumed on board. The rule is meant to prevent passengers from removing sanitary masks while on the plane.
Those who need to take water for their medicine while on board, the flight attendants will direct the passenger to the back of the plane to drink water.
Passengers will also be required to wear sanitary masks all the time while at airports and on board the planes. Those who failed to observe the requirement may be barred from boarding the plane. Flight attendants will wear face masks, face shields, and gloves during the entire journey.
As an extra precaution, domestic flights that last longer than 90 minutes must leave the plane’s back rows unoccupied, in case there’s a need to isolate passengers who might pose a health risk.
What’s more, any domestic flight longer than 90 minutes will be required to leave the plane’s back rows unoccupied in case a suspicious passenger who might posts a health risk will have to be transferred to be seated there.
As for future restrictions related to aviation, Chula said the agency is waiting to see whether the government’s ban on commercial flights will be extended beyond the end of April.
As of Thursday, no airlines have yet requested for the resumption of their domestic flights, Chula added.