Airports of Thailand streamlining procedures, adding staff

PHOTO: Airports of Thailand is adding staff and streamlining processes for surging international tourism. (via Nation)

With the first real High Season since the Covid-19 pandemic getting underway, Airports of Thailand is streamlining procedures and adding staff. Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob inspected Thailand’s main hub, Suvarnabhumi Airport, to evaluate how prepared the airport is for a sharp increase in tourists.

One major focus for airport readiness for an influx of tourists is crowd bottlenecking at immigration. With added staff and a streamlined passport control procedure, Saksayam reports that waiting times at immigration for arriving international travellers should be down to 15 minutes or less.

Immigration officers have been trained to process each passport presented by a foreign arrival quickly. The average time at the immigration desk is now just one minute. With expanded airport staff and hastened procedures, immigration should be able to move 3,000 people through passport control in just 20 minutes.

The Minister of Transport also focused on luggage retrieval at the airport, according to the National News Bureau of Thailand. After quickly and smoothly clearing customs, he insisted that people should not be waiting long for their luggage to make it to the baggage carousels. He said the longest it should take for bags to be unloaded from planes and be available for passengers to pick up is 30 minutes.

The minister said that the high season is bringing a swell of arriving international tourists already this month and December will see even more. He cited figures that Bangkok’s main airport was now accommodating an average of 115,000 travellers per day. That number is expected to increase to at least 130,000 people daily in December.

And authorities are predicting that the number of arrivals will continue to grow in the new year. It is expected that, at some point in the first three months of 2023, China will loosen its Covid restrictions on travel. Chinese travellers will finally be allowed to go abroad again. Before Covid, Chinese tourists made up a huge percentage of international visitors to Thailand and much of Southeast Asia.

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Neill Fronde

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.