Stranded Thai tourists returning from Seoul

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BANGKOK, Oct 18 – Some of the Thai tourists stranded at South Korean’s Incheon airport since Tuesday have returned to Bangkok, while those remaining could arrive later today.

Department of Civil Aviation director general Voradej Harnprasert said that he was informed by PC Air that it has paid outstanding fuel and airport charges and returned a group of the Thai tourists to Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport around 3am this morning.

A PC Air aircraft departed Don Mueang airport at 6am to pick up 170 Thais still in Korea and all of them could return to Thailand later today, he said.

The first 30 of more than 200 Thai tourists stranded at South Korea’s Incheon airport returned earlier by Thai Airways International (THAI).

A Thai foreign ministry spokesman said the embassy in Seoul is facilitating the tourist return home. The flag carrier offered specially priced tickets to the first group of 30 travelers who flew out on Wednesday.

Some 200 Thai tourists, clients of nine travel agencies, were at Incheon airport to board a Bangkok-bound PC Air flight on Tuesday only to be told that the aircraft was banned from taking off due to unpaid fuel and airport charges.

The Thai embassy coordinated with Thai travel agencies in finding accommodation at reasonable prices for the stranded tourists.

Mr Voradej said that the department advised PC Air to stop its flights until the problem is cleared and warned that its license could be stripped if a similar incident happens again.

PC Air CEO Peter Chan has apologized for the inconvenience. He asserted that the airline already paid the fuel charges and said he would see to the problem himself.