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Cathay to help passengers stuck in Thailand
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Hong Kong-based aviation giant Cathay Pacific announced Friday that it would operate flights in the coming two days to help stranded passengers and crew due to the closure of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.

"More flights may be mounted over the weekend if there is still a need," Cathay Pacific said in a press release.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government welcomed Cathay Pacific's move, but still advised Hong Kong residents to avoid unnecessary travel to Bangkok.

According to Cathay Pacific's plan, the first flight using Boeing 777-300 aircraft leaves Hong Kong at 10:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) Friday and will fly to pick up passengers from Utapao Airport near Pattaya, about two-hour drive from Bangkok.

Cathay Pacific said priority for the first flight back to Hong Kong, which would depart Utapao at 14:00 local time (0700 GMT), would be given to the airline's operating crew and staff, and holders of the company's tickets from Bangkok to Hong Kong, without additional charge for those ticket holders.

The flight will also accept non-Cathay Pacific ticket holders if seats are available, the company said, though they will be required to pay for their tickets.

The company will also send another charter flight using a Boeing 777-300 aircraft on Saturday. It leaves Hong Kong at 08:00 (0000 GMT) Saturday and departs Utapao at noon local time.

Cathay Pacific said it will continue to be in close liaison with the HKSAR government to offer assistance to hose affected by the four-day closure of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.

Hundreds of Hong Kong residents traveling to Thailand were stranded in Bangkok due to the airport closure.

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2008)

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