5 Dec 2008

Bangkok international airport resumes operation

10:06 pm on 5 December 2008

Thailand's main international airport has officially resumed full operations, two days after anti-government protesters left the site.

Flights have been leaving Suvarnabhumi since Wednesday, but thousands of passengers still face long delays as the backlog is cleared.

An airport spokeswoman said a flight to Moscow officially marked the resumption of full airport operations.

Meanwhile, Thailand celebrated its king's birthday amid political turmoil.

In an unexpected move, King Bhumibol Adulyadej did not give his traditional speech to the nation on Thursday, the eve of his 81st birthday.

Crown Prince Varjiralongkorn went on the radio instead to say his father was a "little sick".

Thais had been looking forward to hearing from their much-loved monarch, who has long been looked to for guidance in times of turmoil.

The most recent focus of that turmoil was two airports outside Bangkok, where anti-government protesters camped for more than a week to force the prime minister to resign, stranding thousands of travellers as all air traffic was stopped.

However, hundreds of passengers are still facing uncertainty about when they can return home as not all airlines are operating a full service.

There are still a large number of cancelled flights and those that have been scheduled are very overbooked.

Some passengers are being told that it may take as much as another week before they can be guaranteed a seat.