You CAN stay within the "transit" sterile area SO LONG AS your checked bags (if any) are also tagged all the way to REP as well.. If your checked bags are only tagged as far as Bangkok, for whatever reason, you will have to formally enter Thailand-- that is clear Passport Control, then reclaim your checked bags and clear Customs control processes.. After that, you'd simply go up to the departures level and check-in with Bangkok Airways for your BKK-REP flight.
If your checked bags (if any) ARE in fact tagged all the way to REP, then you can stay within the sterile area.. If you don't have a boarding pass for the BKK-REP sector yet, you'll need to get one from the Bangkok Airways transit desk staff before passing thru the security re-screening area. Only passengers with proper boarding passes are permitted past the security re-screening area.
Etihad should be able to tag bags all the way to REP as they share a baggage interline agreement-- so long as your traveling on ONE single ticket.. If your AUH-BKK flight and your BKK-REP flight are on DIFFERENT tickets, then the carriers aren't obligated to interline your bags.
Many thanks GOPBI for a thorough and informative answer! Exactly what I needed to know!
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