Suvarnabhumi is unlikely to reopen for another seven days, even if the protesters leave on Wednesday following a court ruling to disband several parties in the ruling coalition. According to an Airports of Thailand (AOT) official, a week will be need for safety inspections, clean up and to bring systems back online.
There may be an end in sight to the damaging protest that has closed both of Bangkok’s main airports for a week, following a ruling that forces the Prime Minister and 11 of his cabinet to resign. They are all executive members of the three parties that were unanimously found guilty of vote fraud in the December 2007 election, and are now banned from politics for five years.
However, it is unclear whether the government will resign and dissolve the House, or simply appoint a new Prime Minister to form Thailand’s third cabinet in four months. Should the ruling coalition try to continue by forming new parties from their surviving MPs, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has vowed it will stay put at the airport.
With 300,000 travellers now stranded in Bangkok, and the tourist industry devastated by cancellations, pressure is mounting for all parties to back off and save the country’s economy. But the ruling coalition has indicated it might insist on carrying on to make a point, and now bow to mob rule.
Bewildered tourists understand little of the political standoff that has ruined their Thailand holidays, the situation has reached a critical point as the country finds itself divided for and against the present government which is largely seen as a proxy for fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is trying to repeal corruption rulings against himself.
Meanwhile an increasing number of flights have now been departing from Pattaya’s U-Tapao airport nearby, as well as Chiang Mai and Phuket, which have international terminals. Several local carriers have announced extra services, locally and internationally from these airports.