Airports of Thailand (AOT) expects the volume of flights to return to normal by October 2021, AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn announced on Thursday (April 23).
AOT’s management team forecasts that in fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 to September 2020) Thai airports will see about 493,800 flights and about 66.58 million passengers.
“Total flights and passengers will drop by 44.9 per cent and 53.1 per cent, respectively, due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Nitinai said.
“The forecast was made by considering that recovery of the aviation business is dependent on the recovery of destination countries. Meanwhile, Thailand’s important destination countries are countries in the Asia-Pacific region which account for over 80 per cent of our travel.”
He expects domestic flights to recover before international services, since the latter are dependent on countries’ moves to contain the spread of Covid-19 and how long it takes to develop antiviral drugs or vaccines.
“If the Covid-19 situation is brought under control in countries worldwide, the economy in Thailand and other major countries will recover, while traffic volume will return to normal in October 2021,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AOT board had resolved to establish a limited company to manage the Perishable Premium Lane (PPL) project to build a certification hub for agricultural products, added Nitinai.
“AOT will hold 49 per cent of the shares, while the private enterprise with expertise in the field will hold 51 per cent,” he said.
“The project would increase flexibility in the management of Thai agricultural products to meet international standards.”
He added that the PPL lane would inspect and prepare agricultural products in an area separate from the cargo terminal.
“This is like providing a business-class service for products, with experts taking care of products in the PPL lane before delivering them to the cargo terminal,” he added.
“We expect the limited company to be registered in June and begin operating in November this year.”