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Thailand’s PM Dissatisfied With Long Lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Thailand's PM Dissatisfied With Long Lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is still dissatisfied with the handling of large lines and extended waits at Suvarnabhumi International Airport’s immigration control, causing him to direct officials to increase efforts to address the issue.

Mr Srettha paid a second surprise visit to the airport on Saturday evening, following his earlier unannounced visit on February 5.

He stated that passengers were still waiting too long for critical services.

On Sunday, the prime minister posted a statement on X, saying, “I paid an unannounced visit to Suvarnabhumi Airport in the evening. The previous visit occurred in the morning.

“This time, there were many passengers. I started measuring the time people spend at the airport from the time they get out of their cars, go through check-in and security, and arrive at the terminal to wait to board their flights.

“As for arrivals, I timed how long it took them to depart and go through immigration. “I found it took a long time,” he wrote in the mail.

“I asked officials if they might set a time restriction [for processing each passenger going through immigration]. They stated it’s doubtful. This component need immediate improvement.

“I want Airports of Thailand [AoT] or immigration officials to collaborate to inspect the system during peak hours so that they can learn about the issues and devise solutions.” I plan to return for a more thorough look the next time.

“Now that Thailand is totally open to foreign travellers, we are working to make it a regional aviation centre.

Thailand's PM Dissatisfied With Long Lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport

“I want officials to be service-oriented and attentive to guests so that they are impressed from the minute they disembark. “Everything should be viewed as an opportunity to increase Thailand’s tourism,” Mr Srettha wrote.

Following his February 5 visit, he wrote on X that passengers should take no more than 30 minutes to pass through immigration. He also advised them not to wait too long to get their belongings.

The two unexpected trips to the airport occurred before of planned enhancements to airports and the aviation sector across the country, which will begin next month. The concept includes the construction of a new runway at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The AoT plans to invest 44 billion baht in the expansion of Suvarnabhumi Airport and the third phase of a development project at Don Mueang International Airport.

AoT president Kerati Kijmanawat recently stated that Suvarnabhumi airport is undergoing service and security enhancements, with 65 million passengers expected this year.

Mr Kerati stated that the AoT intends to boost the flying capacity of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s satellite terminal 1 from 50 to 120 flights per day within two months, and to 400 flights per day by the end of the year.

He noted that the AoT is poised to move forward with its East development project, which calls for the development of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s passenger facility to handle 15 million passengers per year.

The corporation would invest 8 billion baht in the project, and bidding will begin in May, saying that the AoT will also invest 36 billion baht in the third phase of Don Mueang airport expansion.

The plan calls for the construction of a new international terminal and the restoration of Passenger Building 1.

The project will raise passenger capacity from 30 million to 50 million per year. Bidding for the project will commence later this year.

Thailand's PM Dissatisfied With Long Lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Meanwhile, airport and immigration authorities are hiring more people and building more automatic processing gates in response to the prime minister’s complaints about long passenger lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Airports of Thailand (AoT) president Kerati Kijmanawat made the assurance after reviewing Suvaranbhumi airport with Pol Maj Gen Choengron Rimpadee, commander of Immigration Division 2, on Sunday.

They were responding to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s concern that immigration lines remained excessively lengthy and slow during his second surprise visit to Suvarnabhumi airport.

Mr Kerati admitted there was an issue. During peak hours, passengers took around one hour and ten minutes to complete immigration processes, with an average time of 46 minutes. During peak hours, there were 5,000-6,000 passengers every hour, he stated.

According to Mr Kerati, AoT aimed to keep waiting times to 30 minutes.

He stated that AoT would deploy 800 new employees to support searches and assist travellers by March 30. It also asked immigration officers to keep all immigration booths staffed during peak hours.

Immigration Division 2, which oversees airports, will post 200 new officers to Suvarnabhumi Airport on March 1 and another 400 by the end of the year.

By July 15, there would be 80 more automatic channels for arriving and outbound travellers, along with more efficient passport-checking software. By June 15, twenty new gates would be in place.

Advanced technology would facilitate power bank examination and eliminate the need for passengers to remove their shoes.

AoT had erected a Common Use Passenger Processing System on the fourth floor of the passenger terminal, allowing passengers to self-check in and load bags, and had requested that 24 airlines open check-in facilities four hours before scheduled departure times.

According to Mr Kerati, AoT plans to develop the eastern half of the passenger terminal by 2027.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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