Delayed flights cause passenger surge and extended queues at Suvarnabhumi airport

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A sudden influx of passengers, resulting from the landing of delayed flights, led to extended queues at Suvarnabhumi airport in the early hours of Monday, as reported by the Immigration Bureau.

The Chief of Immigration Division 2, Choengron Rimpadee, noted that between midnight and 2am, the airport witnessed a 33% surge in inbound traffic as 5,563 passengers arrived on 22 flights. This surge was significantly above the norm, with approximately an extra 1,000 passengers.

Passenger queues overflowed the immigration hall at Suvarnabhumi airport, causing a 40-minute wait through immigration, despite fully staffed immigration booths. According to Rimpadee, the peak time for arriving flights is typically between 1pm and 8pm, reported Bangkok Post.

Rimpadee also suggested that travellers keep their boarding passes easily accessible to expedite the immigration process, as these documents need to be registered by immigration officers.

In related news, Airports of Thailand (AOT) announces plans for two new airports, Lanna and Andaman, with a massive investment of 150 billion baht. The ambitious projects aim to redefine passenger capacity, expecting 40 million annual footfall each. Suvarnabhumi Airport plans a facelift, including a 50% expansion of aerobridge terminal space, a third runway, and a revamped luggage transport system. Don Mueang and Chiang Mai airports are set for expansions, and Phuket airport undergoes a glam makeover. AOT emphasizes sustainability with plans for a 50-megawatt solar power plant.

Also, Suvarnabhumi Airport’s automated channels now welcome foreign passport holders, easing congestion for outbound travelers. Effective from December 15, the move aligns with the Prime Minister’s directive to enhance the outbound immigration system. The automated system, operational since 2012, initially checked only Thai passport holders. The streamlined process takes approximately 20 seconds per person, offering a faster alternative to manual checks. With 80 new machines planned for international departures, Suvarnabhumi aims to expedite processing, avoiding flight schedule impacts for the 50,000 to 60,000 daily outbound passengers. Foreign nationals must hold ICAO-compliant E-Passports to utilize the automated channel system.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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