The Thai PM says 4 commercial aircraft are on stand by to evacuate Thai citizens from Israel. Srettha Thavisin says two planes each from Nok Air and AirAsia will operate repatriation flights once Israel gives the green light.
He was speaking after chairing a meeting of the Rapid Response Centre at the Foreign Affairs ministry, according to a Thai PBS World report. The PM says the government is also waiting to hear back from Thai Airways in relation to using one or more of their aircraft for the evacuation mission.
Srettha points out that special flights from Thailand to Israel must pass through the airspace of 4 different countries, therefore the Foreign Ministry must negotiate with each country in order to get permission to use their airspace. He says such talks will take at least 2 days.
The PM has acknowledged the slow pace of the evacuation operation, saying this is the result of several factors. However, he says the Royal Thai Airforce has been given special permission to fly an Airbus 340 and a military aircraft into the area to bring food and supplies to Thai citizens.
The aircraft will then fly back tomorrow, October 14, with 140 Thai nationals on board. Another repatriation flight is expected to depart by the end of next week.
Srettha says his administration is looking at all possible ways to accelerate the evacuation effort, including the possibility of evacuating Thais to a neighbouring country, before flying them back to Thailand from there. The PM adds that as Thailand doesn’t have any conflict with any Middle Eastern country, he’s hopeful that this could be an option.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World