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Reopening Monday: AoT ready for 30k at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: Crowds could be back at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday.

With the November 1 reopening just around the corner, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is gearing up and expects to see 30,000 passenger arrivals on Monday for the first day of reopening. The Airports of Thailand say that they are ready at all 6 of their international airports for the arrival of international tourists again.

Current Suvarnabhumi air traffic data shows a rush of arriving flights on Monday: 100 cargo flights, 230 domestic flights, and an encouraging 110 international flights are scheduled for a total of 440 commercial flights landing at the airport on Monday. Of the touted 30,000 number, 7,000 passengers are expected to be arriving from international origins.

After a year and a half of deafening silence in international terminals all but shuttered by the Covid-19 pandemic, these numbers seem massive. But the president of the AoT gives some perspective to just how bustling Bangkok’s main airport was before the pandemic, pointing out that this surge in arrivals will only engage about 30% of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s total capacity. And the AoT plans to move passengers to the new SAT-1 building that can increase BKK’s capacity to up to 30 million travellers per year.

The AoT is in charge of both Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, as well as the international airports in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Hat Yai. The president says they have been preparing on all fronts for a smooth and safe reopening.

All airport personnel at Suvarnabhumi and their other airports are full vaccinated and have received booster shots as well to improve immunity as they interact with potentially large crowds. All 6 airports have been fitted with the newest technological equipment and procedures to deal with Covid-19 as travellers arrive. Safety drills have been run with customs, immigration, and the airport quarantine office, as well as other airport agencies, to be at the ready for any Covid-19 infections or outbreaks at checkpoints.

196 common-use self-service kiosks have been added to provide less close-distance interactions, as well as 42 common-use bag drops to create accelerated procedures while keeping social distancing a priority. Automation will encourage travellers to check in 6 to 12 hours in advance and then complete their check-in at the airport via kiosks. They will be allowed to choose seats and check bags at these kiosks before proceeding to the automated bag drops and on to their gates.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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