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No flights home for Brits in Bangkok

[December 1st 2008]

Brits stranded in the airport siege in Bangkok are having to make their own plans to get home as there are still no direct flights from Thailand.

Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell has said the government will not be arranging charter flights to rescue Brits stranded in Bangkok.

"The situation facing the many British nationals stranded in Bangkok is frustrating and deeply concerning. Our priority is to help them get home, and I am grateful for the support provided by the Thai authorities to those affected,” Rammell said.

“Our consular teams on the ground and in London are doing all they can to help. They are taking numerous calls and are meeting as many British nationals as possible. Our travel advice is regularly updated, and I urge people to monitor it closely,” Rammell added.

British nationals in Thailand are being urged to register their presence in the country using the Foreign Office online registration service.

In contrast to the UK, other countries are arranging flights home for their nationals trapped in Thailand. Australian airline Qantas is operating rescue flights from the holiday island of Phuket to Singapore. And the Spanish government is sending three planes to bring back nationals.

The closest airport to Bangkok where flights are leaving is the military airbase at Utapao. Thai Airways is operating several flights a day from Utapao to destinations including Hong Kong, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Sydney. Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines from South Korea are also operating flights from Utapao.

Planes stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok have been allowed to fly out of the airport today by anti-government protestors who have occupied the airport since last Tuesday. More than 40 of the 88 stranded planes have now left the airport, but none of them with passengers on board.

There is hope that at least some of these planes may now be able to fly from regional airports in Thailand to help rescue the hundreds of thousands of tourists stranded in the country. About 5,000 British nationals are believed to be among those stranded.

Written by: Nick Purdom