Bangkok (dpa) – Thai airlines spoke out against a proposal to restrict the number of flights per airport, put forward by the government due to congested airspace and safety concerns, a news report said Sunday.
Thailand’s Transport Minister Prajin Janthong Friday said the government was considering reimposing limits on incoming flights, discontinuing the country’s open sky policy in place since 2001.
The proposal to fix limits according to each airport’s designed capacity would be submitted to the cabinet for approval by September, Prajin said.
Exceeding airports’ flight and passenger capacities could be dangerous, he said.
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s chief international airport and the country’s largest, is currently handling more than 800 flights daily but it was designed to serve 600 per day.
Phuket International Airport, the country’s second-busiest airport, was designed for 20 flights per hour but is now serving 23.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation issued a warning to the country’s civil aviation authorities in March. That led Japan, South Korea, China and Singapore to restrict some routes for Thai budget and charter carriers.
Santisuk Klongchaiya of Thai AirAsia, the country’s largest low-cost carriers, said restricting flights was not the solution. Flight numbers were already effectively capped by airspace availability, he said.
“The government should prepare long-term measures to solve this problem” of airspace, instead of ceasing the open sky policy, said Piya Yodpiman of low-cost, medium-haul startup NokScoot.
Thailand’s airports are among South-East Asia’s busiest, handling more than 50 million passengers per year.