Thailand and Malaysia will begin offering quarantine-free “vaccinated travel lanes” (VTL) for air travel between the two countries on next Tuesday (15th March).
According to Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, authorities on both sides are working to finalise the details on the travel bubble agreement. The agreement was reached following discussions between Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during the latter’s official visit to Thailand.
The spokesperson noted that the VTL demonstrates the determination of both nations to reopen their borders in order to promote economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their economies and tourism sectors.
Six daily flights between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, as well as flights between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, will begin on March 15. This will be Malaysia’s second VTL agreement, following the launch of similar flight bubbles between Malaysia and Singapore last year.
AirAsia previously operated direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Hua Hin airports which were discontinued with the arrival of Covid-related restrictions. The the new travel bubble agreement suggests that a resumption of these flights may be imminent along with other eagerly awaited direct international flights to Hua Hin.
This is forecast to include from other Asian neighbours such as India, Hong Kong, Singapore and southern China with many carriers expressing an intent to fly to Hua Hin as soon as travel restrictions allow.
The soon to be completed widening of the Hua Hin airport runway gives an added impetus to this prospect as the Phoenix-Plan to establish the airport as a full international airport gains momentum.