Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Israel says it is 'days' from completing Gaza tunnel hunt

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • Liberia shuts all schools as Ebola virus spreads

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

Asia-pacific

First international flight leaves Bangkok

Video by Christopher MOORE

Latest update : 2008-12-04

The first international flight to leave Bangkok took off after an eight-day blockade by anti-government protestors. Some 350,000 tourists remain stranded in the country.

Read more on the origins and goals of the Thai protest movement

 
AFP - A Thai Airways flight to Sydney left Bangkok's main international airport Wednesday, the first international departure since protesters ended an eight-day blockade, an AFP reporter witnessed.
   
The flag carrier's flight left Suvarnabhumi international airport at about 6:45 pm (1145 GMT) carrying 388 passengers, many of them Australian tourists stranded by the airport closures, airline officials said.
   
Protesters gave up their siege of Suvarnabhumi and the smaller Don Mueang domestic airport after a court on Tuesday dissolved the ruling party and forced out the prime minister, one of the key demands of the demonstrators.
   
Suvarnabhumi has been closed since the evening of November 25.
   
About 350,000 passengers are estimated to have missed flights out of the kingdom due to the closures, and until Wednesday were being ferried slowly out of a naval base southeast of Bangkok and a handful of regional airports.
   
Tourists on the Sydney flight were relieved to be heading home, but said they would remember Thailand fondly, despite the political chaos.
   
"It's an interesting time for Thailand. I don't feel angry, we have been treated very well. I would love to come back," said Paul from New Zealand, who gave his first name only.
   
Passenger Brad Wheeler, from Australia, also said he was "very happy" to be leaving the kingdom.
   
"It's really good to go back home. I will come back, the closure did not scare me," said Wheeler.
   
An Australian woman who did not give her name told AFP: "I want to say only that it's good to go home."
   
Five more Thai Airways international flights are due to leave Suvarnabhumi later Wednesday and very early Thursday, flying to New Delhi, Narita in Japan, Frankfurt, Seoul and Copenhagen.
   
Suvarnabhumi is still not fully operational, however, with passengers having to check in at a convention centre east of Bangkok.
   
Airport authorities say they hope the have check-in desks and immigration up and running again on Thursday. Don Mueang is also due to reopen on Thursday.
  

Date created : 2008-12-03

COMMENT(S)