Thai Flights Back in Air After 2 Days

Thai Airways International is scheduled to resume flights to Pochentong Airport today after a minor problem with the control tower’s navigation system has been fixed.

A Thai Airways flight on Sun­day experienced minor problems receiving weather and atmospheric information during landing, Pratin Cherdchaikul, general manager for Thai Air­ways, said.

A decision was made later in Bangkok to cancel all subsequent flights to Pochentong “for safety reasons,” Pratin Cherdchaikul said. Passengers were rerouted on other airlines Monday and Tuesday, he said. Other airlines said they were not affected.

Government air officials no­ticed that a part of the tower’s meteorological equipment was down Sunday afternoon, said Keo So­phal, director-general of the State Secretariat for the Civil Aviation.

The problem has never oc­curred before and was fixed Tues­day morning at 10:45 am, said Peang Sary, director of the electronics and engineering de­part­ment in the government’s air agency.

Pratin Cherdchaikul said Cam­bodian civil aviation officials did not inform any company of any problems at the country’s major international airport: “When an air tower has something broken they should an­nounce it to all the airline companies. If they leave it, that’s how accidents happen.”

Keo Sophal said they informed airlines as soon as they themselves learned of the problem Sunday afternoon.

The immediate business fall-out was unclear. However, the Hotel Inter-Continental reported Tues­day that 10 percent of its reservations had been canceled due to flight suspensions.

Pochentong has been working with a basic system since more sophisticated equipment was stolen around the time of fighting in July 1997. Better landing equipment would allow pilots to land in any weather, officials have said. Now, pilots rely on radio and visual contact with the control tower and a beacon.

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