Usually, the gates at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport are full of travelers rushing to destinations such as cities in China, Southeast Asia and Thailand. Equally, there were endless queues at this airport all the time, both at check-in and in areas of personal need, such as toilets.
But since early 2020, these images are just memories of previous years, as the global coronavirus pandemic has dramatically reduced flights. These have been restricted to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. As in many other countries, this airport is now without its former activity.
Don Mueang is not the only airport in this situation. Data from the Thai Civil Aviation Authority (CAAT) show that since April, when the Thai government imposed strict travel restrictions in and out of the country, the number of international flights has fallen to unprecedented levels in recent history.
Of the more than 26,000 international flights in January at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, only 2,711 flights were registered in April, almost all repatriation flights. In Don Mueang, only 156 international flights were registered in April, compared to 9000 flights in January, a number that suddenly decreased.
Thus, the coronavirus pandemic brought with it an impact of 8.4 billion dollars for the Thai market. It is considered the most economically affected pandemic in Southeast Asia, along with other major markets such as China, Japan, India and Australia.
Of course, the air carriers recorded record revenue losses. For example, Thai Airways suffered a loss of 18.3 billion dollars in the first six months of the year. Compatriot Bangkok Airways suffered similar losses and low-cost airlines suffered as well.
Therefore, Thai tourism is closely linked to the losses suffered by airlines and it is not known when or if it will return to normal in previous years.