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First passenger flight to land at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport as protesters hand over
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15:29, December 03, 2008

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A passenger flight from Thailand's flagship air carrier Thai Airways International (THAI) is set to land at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday (0700 GMT) as anti-government protesters cease one-week occupation of the airport.

This will be the first passenger plane to land at the airport as a start of service resumption after a one-week shutdown since it was sieged by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters last Tuesday.

A Boeing 747 plane, flight number TG2109 departing from the southern tourist island of Phuket will take 375 passengers, many of them tourists who had been stranded there for days because of the Bangkok airport shutdown, back to the capital.

Serirat Prasutanond, Acting President of the Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT), the body overseeing major airports across Thailand, said Wednesday that commercial flights taking off and landing at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport may be resumed at noon on Friday at the earliest.

The full operation will be resumed in another week after that but no more than two weeks.

AOT officials started checking all systems of the Suvarnabhumi Airport at 10 a.m. (0300 GMT) Wednesday after the PAD officially handed it over.

The PAD, which led thousands of protesters to hold continuous mass rallies since May in central Bangkok in attempts to topple the government led by Premier Somchai Wongsawat, on Tuesday announced to cease its rallies at and occupation of the Government House since Aug. 26 and the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports since Nov. 25 from Wednesday, following a Constitution Court verdict on Tuesday to disband the Somchai-headed ruling People Power Party on electoral fraud charges.

The verdict has effectively brought down the Somchai government, which the PAD called a proxy administration of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.


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