THAI's acting president ACM Narongsak Sangkhapong yesterday said staff had readied U-tapao's aircraft refuelling, passenger ticketing and other facilities in case there is a significant diversion of flights to the airport, which is about an hour's drive from Bangkok.
Yesterday, THAI diverted one of its long-haul flights, TG 795 from Los Angeles and carrying 126 passengers, to U-tapao as Bangkok's airports remained closed.
"Now, there are two scenarios. First, the Cabinet could declare a state of emergency at both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports following a court injunction [requiring protesters to leave the airports]. Then, we could return to provide passenger and cargo services if the situation returned to normal.
"However, another scenario is that we will need to divert flights to U-tapao if the two Bangkok airports remain closed for an extended period," he said.
THAI has reported a daily Bt500-million loss of revenue since anti-government protesters shut Suvarnabhumi and then Don Mueang airports on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Narongsak said the airline was also facing additional expenses as a result of the airport siege, as some staff are now stuck at overseas stations, resulting in extra costs for hotel accommodation.
At its Bangkok headquarters, the airline has set up a special customer service centre to serve a large number of clients, most of whom are foreigners, as they have no idea when Bangkok's airports will reopen.