Achara Ashayagachat, Amornrat Mahitthirook and Chatrudee Theparat

Many countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens who are planning to visit Thailand following the storming of Suvarnabhumi airport.

Among them, China has advised its citizens to review travel plans to Thailand.

Singaporeans have been urged to postpone non-essential travel here.

The Australian embassy has highlighted caution in its advisory and advised its citizens to avoid protest areas..

The US embassy has also warned Americans to stay away from Suvarnabhumi airport.

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union has expressed serious concerns about the deteriorating political situation in Thailand, in particular with the siege of Suvarnabhumi airport, where air traffic has ground to a halt and thousands of passengers have been stranded or rerouted.

It reiterates that any anti-constitutional attempt to interfere in the democratic process would harm EU-Thailand relations.

The closure of Suvarnabhumi by the People's Alliance for Democracy since Tuesday has cost Thai Airways International (THAI) and Airports of Thailand (AoT) Co more than 500 million baht a day, with over 400 flights cancelled.

THAI operates 140 flights on average and serves over 30,000 passengers daily through the airport.

Its cargo service normally generates about 63 million baht a day for the airline.

The carrier is working to find accommodation for stranded passengers and provide them with meals and alternative transportation.

Since the airport's closure on Tuesday night, THAI has catered some 6,000 meals and paid for rooms at nearby hotels. The costs have yet to be calculated, said THAI vice president Parndit Chanaphai.

Transport Minister Santi Promphat has ordered the AoT to sue the PAD for the damage.

The Civil Court yesterday called an emergency session to look into a complaint filed by the AoT against 13 PAD leaders for directing the siege. The AoT accused Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang and 12 other PAD leaders of spearheading the move.

The AoT asked the court to order the PAD to leave Suvarnabhumi at once.

The court agreed to begin an emergency inquiry at 5.30pm yesterday.

Passengers were also stranded at other regional airports as no aircraft arrived from Bangkok to pick them up, except a special THAI flight from Suvarnabhumi which arrived at Hat Yai airport to collect Haj pilgrims heading for Saudi Arabia.

About 5,000 passengers are stuck at Phuket airport and about 800 at Samui.

According to Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co, some arriving international flights were rerouted to Don Mueang and U-tapao airports as well as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

PAD demonstrators also ensured no air traffic controllers remained at work.

The government approved an urgent budget of 10 million baht to help stranded travellers..

Immigration police have been asked to exempt fines for those whose visas have expired while stranded.


© Bangkok Post
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