Thai authorities have given the go-ahead to airlines to serve food and drinks on planes banned during the coronavirus pandemic: the ruling applies to domestic flights, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said. The permit was issued not because of a decline in the number of patients, but so that low-cost airlines, which are on the verge of bankruptcy, could improve their financial condition.
The head of Suttifong Kongpul signed the relevant decree and said that food and drinks will be served again in accordance with strict Covid-19 prevention measures. For example, food must be served in pre-packaged containers and drinks must be served in bottles, draft drinks are prohibited. In addition, the staff undertakes to regularly wash their hands and wipe them with disinfectants, especially before and after serving food to tourists.
Recall that the agency banned all airlines from feeding tourists and serving drinks to them in December 2020 as a preventive measure in the fight against coronavirus. In September 2020, Thai Airways turned its headquarters in Bangkok into an airline-themed restaurant serving those who missed the taste of airplane food.
It was explained that the risk of covid transmission was associated not so much with the serving of food as with the mask regime. From the point of view of sanitary standards, the planes seemed to be a hotbed of infection – a closed, unventilated and overcrowded space did not fit well into the fight against coronavirus. Especially when eating and drinking, it was necessary to take off the masks.
On long-haul flights, flying without food or drinks was not possible, but on domestic flights it was. The duration of the flight in Thailand is generally within 1-2 hours, so it was possible to delay the meal so as not to increase the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
The agency did not explain the reasons for the return of meals to domestic flights, however, experts suggest that the easing of measures is by no means related to the incidence statistics. The number of coronavirus patients in the kingdom remains high due to the circulation of new strains of coronavirus BA.4 and BA.5.
In addition, the increased number of infected people was affected by the flow of tourists: on July 1, the Thailand Pass requirement ended. According to Thailand's Department of Disease Control and Prevention, an increase in travel is causing a surge in cases.
At the same time, authorities understand that covid prevention measures must someday be lifted to prevent Thailand's low-cost airlines from went bankrupt. If the ticket price of Thai Airways or Bangkok Air, food and drinks are already included, but low-cost airlines such as Nok Air, Thai VietJet, Lion Air and Thai AirAsia charge a separate fee for food and drinks. At the same time, the sale of snacks and drinks is a large source of the total income of low-cost carriers.
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