Thai Protesters Strand Travelers

  • 16 years ago
  • Uncategorized
Protesters in Thailand have stranded more than 100,000 travelers in the country and surrounding ones as they have taken over the two main airports in Bangkok. The city’s airports are a major regional hub, so not only are those who need to get in or out of the country in a bind, but so are many passengers from neighboring countries and locations that fly through the city.
The main airport is Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is also called the New Bangkok International Airport. It opened in 2006 and serves international air traffic, while the old airport, called Don Mueang International Airport, now serves primarily domestic traffic and the country’s air force. Both airports are now closed due to the protests, and there is no end in sight. The government had said that Suvarnabhumi Airport would be closed at least until Monday evening, but that is looking like an optimistic goal at best. Protesters are solidly entrenched at the airport and there are nearly 2,000 police and security forces on standby around the airport.
The Thai government is currently using the U-Tapao military base to fly stranded foreigners out of the country, but the facilities there are inadequate to handle the demand. The terminal is small and only 400 people can fit in at a time, so it is not able to handle the necessary capacity to even get those who need to out of the country. All foreign cargo shipments destined for Bangkok, including mail and parcels, have been suspended since last Wednesday (November 26).
There is still direct service to other commercial airports in Thailand, including Phuket (HKT). However, there are no connecting flights through Bangkok, so that has limited the options for travelers.
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