The Royal Thai Air Force asserted that they will repatriate Thai citizens home from Israel who wish to return, however, they currently face difficulties accessing the territorial sky in some countries. The process will take more time but puts the safety of relevant officers and refugees into great consideration.
On October 11th, 2023, Air Chf Mshl Panpakdee Pattanakul, Commander of the Royal Thai Air Force, spoke about a repatriation mission of Thai citizens in Israel. The Thai Air Force was well-prepared since the war between Hamas and the State of Israel erupted on October 7th, 2023. Initially, there were Airbus A340s and C-130s in a total of 6 units, and medical staff members on board ready to repatriate Thai nationals who wanted to come home.
As for the departure times, the details could not be disclosed due to security reasons. But, the repatriation flights would be immediately right after their arrivals in Israel.
Air Chf Mshl Panpakdee asserted that the Thai Air Force has but one restriction on accessing the territorial sky in some countries. Therefore, they have to take roundabout and safe flight routes keeping in mind the safety of relevant officers, resources, and refugees.
Normally, it would take at least a few weeks for repatriation missions but the Minister of Foreign Affairs was able to coordinate with the Israeli government to reduce the process duration.
According to a recent report on the number of Thai citizens requests for return, there were more than 3,000 individuals which would take time to repatriate everyone. Air Chf Mshl Panpakdee stated, “With the great cooperation we have from commercial airlines, it will reduce the repatriation time tremendously.”