Thailand’s Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has lifted its ban on food and drinks served on domestic flights, according to the authority’s director-general Chula Sukmanop.
In its latest announcement on Thursday, the Aviation Authority in Thailand added that its ban on the sale of souvenirs has also been removed. However, the Aviation Authority maintains that airlines must continue to follow the health and safety regulations issued by relevant authorities.
The announcement came months after commercial flights were suspended at the end of April due to the escalating outbreak of Covid-19. The Aviation Authority then allowed domestic flights to resume on May 1, although airlines were barred from serving food and drinks on board for flights that did not exceed two hours.
The majority of domestic flights in Thailand are under two hours.
Even with the lifting of its food and drink ban, the Aviation Authority insists passengers are still required to wear masks during flights and airlines must install effective cabinet air filter systems.
On Aug 12, Thailand’s Aviation Authority said the ban on international commercial flights will remain in force as the Covid-19 pandemic is still at critical and dangerous levels globally.
Mr Chula has said previously that this is an indefinite ban and that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is monitoring the situation before it decides when flights will resume.
AirAsia to Start Charging Customers for Flight Check in at Airport Counters
Meanwhile, Cash-strapped low cost airline AirAsia said on Tuesday it would begin charging customers a fee to check in at airport counters. The fee is in part to encourage customers to minimize physical contact with staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Travellers who do not check in via the airline’s website, mobile app or airport kiosk will be charged $4.85 for domestic flights. For international flights, customers will be charged $7.25 though some exceptions will apply.
AirAsia Group Chief Operations Officer Javed Malik said the fees would help motivate travellers to make use of the airline’s investment in digital technology.
“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, these self-check-in facilities have become very crucial in minimizing physical contact between our guests and staff,” he said in a statement.
AirAsia last month reported the biggest quarterly loss in its history due to the devastating impact the pandemic has had on travel demand, with revenue down 96%.
The airline said it had applied for bank loans in its operating markets and had been presented with proposals from investment bankers, lenders and potential investors to raise capital.
The new AirAsia check-in fees are well below European budget carrier Ryanair Holdings’s PLC 55 euro ($65.95) charge for airport check-in, which was put in place before the pandemic.
US low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines charges $10 for boarding passes to be printed at the airport, according to its website.