CAAT bans all international flights to Thailand from 6-18 April.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has announced a temporary ban on all international flights to Thailand from 6-18 April as a measure to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who departed before the ban came into force were subject to 14 days quarantine.

Suvarnabhumi airport (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

On 6 April, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) website issued a notification of a temporary ban on all international flights to Thailand from 17.00 UTC, 6 April 2020 to 17.00 UTC, 18 April.

The notification cancelled all flight permits in the period. The ban does not apply to state or military aircraft, emergency landings, technical landings without disembarkation, humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, repatriation flights and cargo flights.

Passengers on board aircraft which departed before the ban came into force were subject to 14 day quarantine under the Communicable Diseases Act and the Emergency Decree.

The notification was issued for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak. The first notification banned incoming flights  from 3-6 April; a second version extended this to 18 April.

On 3 April, 158 Thai passengers arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport objected to the 14 day quarantine in state-designated facilities and after hours of negotiation were allowed to leave the airport. 134 later reported to the authorities after threats of heavy punishments for breaking the law.

According to a passenger video posted on social media, the military officer at the scene is seen saying “The Phu Yai (superior) allows you to go home”. (Source: the bangkok insight , Matichon)

The Thai media reported on 8 April that 42 out of 76 Thai passengers arriving at Hat Yai Airport on 6 April via a charter flight from Jakarta, where they had attended a Muslim religious ceremony, had positive test results.

The aircraft was originally supposed to carry 100 passengers but 24 were prevented from boarding on suspicion of being infected. 35 crew members did not show any suspicious symptoms (Source: Khaosod)

Since 22 March, CAAT has required Thai nationals to have Fit to Fly certificates issued no more than 72 hours before traveling and a certifying letter from their local Thai Embassy before being allowed to board a flight home.

On 25 March, Arthit Suriyawongkul, a Thai PhD student in Ireland, filed a complaint with the Administrative Court calling for the repeal of the CAAT travel restrictions. He claimed that they violate the right to freedom of movement guaranteed in the Thai constitution.

On 3 April, the Court dismissed the complaint. The Court stated that it does not have the power to rule on the implementation of the Emergency Decree. However, as the rights and freedoms of the complainant were affected, the complainant can file a complaint at the court of justice.