User login

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport has been closed

1 reply [Last post]
Anthony Galloway's picture
Joined: 17-Dec-08
Posts: 2317

All flights cancelled at Bangkok after gunshots from protesters
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) has been closed today with all departing flights cancelled, and arriving flights left to the discretion of airlines, as pro- and anti-government protesters clashed Tuesday evening.

Thai police have confirmed that when the two groups clashed, what began as a war of words quickly saw the start of a gunfire exchange at the main hub in Thailand, resulting in the injury of two individuals.

The anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is believed to have swarmed the airport on Tuesday evening in an attempt to prevent Somchai Wongsawat, the current Thai Prime Minister, from returning to the country following APEC in Peru.

“For the safety for passengers, we have to stop flights out of the airport temporarily until the situation returns to normal,” said Saereerat Prasutanont, Suvarnabhumi International Airport Director, on Tuesday night.

“I decided to shut down services after the protesters broke the door on the fourth floor of the terminal and stormed into the departure lounge. I had no alternative.”

With the protesters camped inside the airport, officials have had little choice but to cancel Wednesday’s services both in and out of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi causing transport chaos and another hit to Thailand’s struggling tourism industry.

Flights which can’t be cancelled will be diverted to Chiang Mai or Phuket, officials say.

While thousands of travellers have now been stranded, reports from the airport have revealed that the protesters have been deemed ‘helpful’ to tourists. Helping ferry them from the terminal in pick-up trucks after taxis were not allowed inside.

The airport raid is believed to be the culmination of two days of protests by the PAD against Somchai, who is the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s brother-in-law. Thaksin was ousted in 2006 by a bloodless military coup, but still sees much support from the country’s rural poor.

Earlier on Tuesday, some 10,000 protesters swarmed the old Bangkok Airport at Don Mueang, where Somchai is temporarily based after the prime minister’s office was swarmed in August.

No growth for tourism

Already the industry is warning that Thailand will not see any growth in travel and tourism due to the damage caused to the country’s image from the political protests.

“Don’t think that the Thai tourism business will grow next year,” said Apichart Sankary, Association of Thai Travel Agents President, to the Bangkok Post.

“It’s dying now because of the political problems. In the best case, we might just see flat growth.”

BKK to open at noon

In an official statement, Thai Airways, the national carrier announced that it expected the gateway hub to be operational by noon local time today, and to be fully operational by Friday.

“Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport will be closed until 12 noon local BKK time, Wednesday, 26 November... THAI passengers travelling to Thailand will be transferred to the next available flight when flight operations return to normal which is likely to be by Friday, 28 November 2008.

“THAI passengers connecting through BKK to other THAI destinations will be transferred to other carriers without penalty until BKK airport operations return to normal.

“THAI will waive all cancellations and amendment fees for passengers changing travel plans as a result of the airport closure and departing up until Monday, 1st December 2008. All airfares requested for refund action are to be submitted by 12 December, 2008,” it adds.

TG diverted to old international airport

Thai Airways, the national carrier, has diverted 16 of its international inbound flights to Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), with another three diverted to U-Tapao Airport, which also serves as the nearby Navy Airfield.

“All THAI’s inbound and outbound flights from Suvarnabhumi International Airport are temporarily suspended until it resumes normal operations, [while] THAI’s domestic flights, inbound and outbound from Don Mueang International Airport remain normal operation.”

Travellers and relatives have been urged by airport officials to call the airport call centre for more information on (+662) 132-1888 or the tourist police department at the airport on (+662) 643-5522.

Source: E-travel Blackboard Asia

marklatham's picture
Joined: 14-Nov-07
Posts: 733

I arrived in bangkok last night to find the airport besieged by the yellow shirted mob/
There were about three thousand camped out on the road at the departures area with a stage set up and a concert underway!
Another ten thousand were camped on the freeway to prevent people arriving at the airport.
There were eleven people hurt yesterday by shootings and another grenade.
I wandered amongst these nutters after midnight last night abusing them in good australian and some thai.
Today I changed my booking through to phnom penh to tomorrow night and my fingers are crossed.
They say here that only an appeal by the king can cause these anarchists to leave the airport.The army was called last night to take order but they didnt answer the phone.
the government strategy is to roll over and let the PAD do what they like,this is after they shot a couple of them recently and copped some flak for it.
I saw one pickup with weapons in the tray,sticks,spears,bats and slingshots.
These people will ruin the thai tourist industry which is six per cent of GDP.


Whats on! See our help pages - add your own events

This location does not have any events. Why not add one here!