Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bangkok Riots: Airlines cancelled 173 flights through Suvarnabhumi Airport

Airlines cancelled 173 flights through Suvarnabhumi Airport during the height of the violence on Wednesday and Thursday in Bangkok.

The total number of take-offs and landings and passenger volumes through the national gateway hit one of the lowest daily levels since its opening in 2006. A total of 98 flights were cancelled on Wednesday while 629 flights and 56,817 passengers were recorded.

Aircraft movements and passenger throughput inched up on Thursday with 671 flights and 62,812 passengers.

The numbers of cancelled flights on Thursday fell to 75 as the civil unrest and imposition of a curfew took their toll on air traffic movement, according to figures from Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT).

Suvarnabhumi normally accommodates 750 aircraft movements and 130,000 passengers a day on average.

``The outlook is for a continued plunge in both flights and passenger throughput numbers, at least for the rest of the month,'' said Nirandra Theeranartsin, the general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport.

AoT has started counting costs from the slump in traffic, while considering how to help affected Thai airlines and tenants at Suvarnabhumi.

Mr Nirandra acknowledged that lower traffic, caused by the political upheaval that compounded the low-season demand, will clearly hit its April-June quarter financial results.

AoT's net profit in the quarter to March 31 was 1.78 billion baht, down marginally from 1.81 billion in the same period a year earlier.

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