The Macao Special Administration Region (SAR) government said Friday it has arranged a chartered plane to fly to Thailand, where anti-government protesters shut down the main airports, and carry the stranded Macao residents back home.
Anti-government protesters in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, besieged the city’s two main airports on Thursday, leading to a large number of flight cancellations and stranded foreign travelers. In a six-month-long street campaign, the protesters have attempted to force out of power the current administration they claimed as the puppet of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was removed by the military in September 2006 and now lives in exile.
The SAR government has rented an Airbus A-321 from Air Macao, the local flagship airline, and the residents are scheduled to board the plane at the U-Tapao Airport, 140 km southeast of Thailand’s capital Bangkok, on Saturday afternoon, according to a press release from the SAR government’s Outbound Tourism Crisis Management Office (GGCTE).
By far, GGCTE has contacted six Macao tour groups with 120 members in Thailand, and their respective travel agencies will assist them to travel from Bangkok to U-Tapao Airport, the GGCTE said. Related charge for the charter flight will be paid by the SAR government.
Similar move has been taken by the Hong Kong SAR government.
The Thai authorities have advised international airlines to temporarily operate incoming and departing flights through U-Tapao until the two Bangkok airports are reopened. U-Tapao normally serves a very small number of charter flights from Russia and some scheduled services, such as those operated by carrier Bangkok Airways. It has been used at times as an alternate airport for flights that have been diverted from other airports before, according to the Bangkok Post.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) movement, the major opposition political party in Thailand, has vowed to stay blockading the airports until Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat quits, which he has refused to do.