Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok’s global gateway, plans to increase services to deal with the influx of arriving passengers. Thailand saw a swift surge in travellers after China’s recent decision to reopen its borders.
The Airports of Thailand (AoT) announced Friday that the measures will help tackle delays in passenger servicing time, particularly during peak hours. They say they have already begun to improve service flow.
The airport’s director said Suvarnabhumi received complaints about luggage claim delays from around 30 flights per day last month. It seems bad, but in December roughly 50 flights per day received delayed baggage complaints. This month continued the trend with delays reported in just 7% of daily flights, which is equivalent to approximately 15 to 20 flights per day.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob ordered the Immigration Bureau to increase its capacity to handle incoming passengers on February 8. The AoT has responded to the minister’s order by developing a range of plans to reduce delays and ease passenger congestion. These measures have been divided into short-term and long-term problem-solving solutions.
For short-term problem-solving, the airport’s ground handling operators, THAI Ground (TG) and Bangkok Flight Services (BFS), are recruiting additional staff and acquiring more equipment to manage the spike in passenger numbers. In the longer term, AoT is looking to add a third ground handling operator. Any addition would have to be approved by the Cabinet first.
Suvarnabhumi Airport will add more automatic passport checkpoints and pre-immigration kiosks. It will temporarily expand the period for carriers to provide self-handling services as well. The new priority zone and VOA checking area at the Satellite 1 building will also be expanded and are set to open in September.
To help reduce congestion at passport-checking areas, the AoT plans to install auto passport checkpoint channels. The move to help outbound travellers with e-passports would be completed in November.
The AoT has also addressed the shortage of taxi services at the airport by registering 3,909 taxis for service. The number of taxis will soon be increased to 4,500, according to Suvarnabhumi Airport’s director.
The airport authorities also plan to develop the space between the passenger terminal and the Concourse D building. A reception hall for arriving passengers and those with visas on arrival (VOAs) will be constructed. They expect to provide the service for 2,000 inbound passengers and 400 people with VOAs every hour.
The AoT says the second phase of the airport’s long-term solution to congestion problems is still being created. Construction is set to begin in November, though.
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