Thousand of foreign travelers stranded in Bangkok airports to return home were raised yesterday when the first international passenger flights left Bangkok’s main airport after anti-government protesters ended their eight-day siege.
New reports said within hours of the lifting of the blockade the first passenger service in a week arrived from the resort island of Phuket, and a Thai Airways flight left for Sydney.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will begin operating from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport beginning Friday, after the airport re-opened for limited operations Wednesday, reported Bernama.
Quoting MAS Area Manager for Thailand A. Vijayakumaran the national new agency said the single flight on Thursday would still leave from the Utapao Airport at a naval base near Pattaya at 5.10pm.
“From Friday, we will resume our operations at Suvarnabhumi. We cannot move there on Thursday as Thai Airways which is our ground handler, is not fully ready,” Bernama quoted Vijayakumaran as saying.
An estimate more than 300,000 foreigners were stranded after anti-government protesters blocked the Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports, and only ended the eight-day siege Wednesday morning.
Thousands of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demonstrators left Suvarnabhumi international airport yesterday morning, a day after a court disbanded the governing party and barred the prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, from office for electoral fraud.
According to Guardian the Thai airports’ authority said the arrival of the first three international flights would not happen until tomorrow – although the hope was that normal services could resume soon.
The international airport’s manager, Serirat Prasutanond, predicted a speedy return to normality after inspecting the terminal.
As he spoke, 700 soldiers and specialist bomb squads moved into the airport complex with sniffer dogs to search for explosive devices, while cleaners cleared the rubbish and IT technicians started rebooting systems shut down a week ago.