Thai airports reopen as Brits try to fly home
[September 1st 2008]
Phuket, Krabi and Hat Yai airports in Thailand have reopened as Brits stranded abroad try to get flights home following the political demonstrations in the country.
Anti-government protestors closed the airports' runways and left thousands of holidaymakers unable to catch their flights home for much of the weekend.
Phuket is Thailand's second busiest airport and was closed from late on Friday afternoon until 11am on Sunday. The airport is a popular gateway to some of the main tourist areas in Thailand and is also used for connecting flights within the country.
Many of the holidaymakers unable to catch their flights had to make alternative arrangements and try to find transport to Bangkok airport, which has remained open during the political unrest. Bangkok is the largest airport in Thailand and is the airport most visitors to the country fly into.
Although the airports have now reopened, the political situation in Thailand remains unstable. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office warns that demonstrations are taking place in central Bangkok and advises holidaymakers to avoid any large gatherings of people.
The FCO also cautions that there is a "high threat from terrorism in Thailand" and says attacks could be indiscriminate, "including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers". It is advising against all but essential travel to the southern provinces of Pattani Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhia.
The airport protests were staged by the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy. They are unhappy about the influence they claim deposed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has on the current coalition government. Shinawatra came to Britain after a military coup in Thailand facing charges of corruption. He now owns Manchester City football club.
The fact that protestors targeted airports shows the importance of the tourism industry in Thailand. The railway network was also disrupted, making it even more difficult for stranded tourists to make their way to Bangkok. Package holiday firms are reported to have organised buses to take holidaymakers to the airport or paid for extra nights accommodation for them.
Written by: Nick Purdom
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