BANGKOK, 3 August 2021: Thailand’s domestic airlines pull
the plug on all flights until the end of August as the deep red zones that
include strict restrictions and a nightly 2100 to 0400 curfew increase to 29
Previously domestic flights were banned to and from the deep
red zone that covered Bangkok and 12 provinces, three of which were in the deep
south. The ban on transport also covered train and buses.
But over the weekend, the government increased the deep red
zone to include 29 provinces that have now ended the remaining few flights that
Nok Air* was the last airline to suspend flights on 3 August. It offered three daily flights from Phuket to U-Tapao, a coastal airport in Rayong province just 40 km south of Pattaya beach resort, until the evening of 2 August. Rayong has now joined the deep red province along with Chonburi province that covers Pattaya, ending the airline services. (See update below on Nok Air extension.)
Fully vaccinated foreigners who entered Thailand under the
Phuket Sandbox scheme were unable to travel beyond the island even after
completing their 14-day stay with three negative PCR tests as airlines
suspended their domestic flights in July starting with Thai AirAsia, and by 21
July all six airlines based in Thailand stopped flights with the exception of
Bangkok Airways offering sealed flights from Bangkok to Phuket and Nok Air
flying to U-Tapao airport in light red Rayong province.
With the latest inclusions to the deep red list, the last
few remaining domestic flights have ended for the remainder of August.
On Monday, travel blogger Richard Barrow reported a temporary express bus service is now operating on a sealed route from Phuket to Bangkok for so-called “Phuket Sandboxers” to get off the island and find their way to the Thai capital. That appears to be the only viable option to get off Phuket island after their sandbox experience. The bus trip takes around 12 hours.
Meanwhile, Phuket authorities at the weekend shut down all
transport options land, air and sea, virtually cutting off the island from
mainland Thailand except cargo and medical supply truck deliveries and
essential travel by medical and government personnel.
Deep Red Zones
Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Kanchanaburi, Lopburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Narathiwat, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Prachinburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Singburi, Songkhla, Suphanburi, Ang Thong, Tak and Yala.
*Nok Air three more days
Nok Air has received permission to extend flights to/from U-Tapao Airport for three more days, 3 to 5 August, to transport travellers on essential business. Flights are available between U-Tapao and
- Chiang Mai
- Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Udon Thani
- Ubon Ratchathani
(For flights between U-Tapao and Phuket, service is only available out of Phuket.
(Source: Nok Air)