Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thailand's air traffic tumbles in February

Published: 7/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business

Passenger traffic through Thailand's six main airports tumbled further in February with a 20.6% year-on-year contraction due to a continued slowdown in travel demand caused by the global recession and domestic political problems.

The fall was steeper than in the preceding month when numbers shrank by 15.9%, while the outlook for March is for a continued drop as the recession deepens and domestic political conflicts escalated.

Combined passenger throughput, including Suvarnabhumi Airport, was 4.25 million in February. There were 2.62 million international passengers, a fall of 21.5% from the same period last year, and 1.63 million domestic passengers, a decrease of 19%.

Total aircraft movements also recorded a steep plunge of 19.4% in February - down to 27,515. The month saw domestic journeys slip by 23.1% to 11,856 while international flights contracted 16.4% to 15,659.

Total flights over the month also fell more steeply than in January. The earlier month saw movements slip 14.3% to 31,239 as impacts from the closure of Bangkok's two main airports in late November and early December continued to be felt, according to figures from Airports of Thailand Plc.

Cumulative January and February passenger throughput was 18.2% lower year-on-year at 8.93 million, consisting of 5.45 million international travellers (down 19.7%) and 3.48 million domestic passengers (down 15.6%).

Flight movements for January and February contracted 16.8% to 58,574.

Officials hope the final figures for 2009 will be at last year's levels of 54.4 million passengers and 371,560 flights.

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