Thailand eyes AI to improve airport operations, inspired by Beijing

Image courtesy of Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Thailand Ministry of Transport is considering leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance airport operations, in line with the government’s ambition to establish the country as a prominent aviation centre in the region.

Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit unveiled the proposal following his visit to Beijing Capital International Airport in China, where he observed the AI implementation in the airport’s management system.

Beijing Airport, through the use of AI, has significantly cut down the time it takes to unload luggage, clean aircraft cabins, and conduct necessary pre-flight maintenance.

According to Suriya, the employment of AI and Big Data technologies over the past nine years has yielded positive results, enhancing the efficiency of the airport’s operations.

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For departing passengers, the AI-driven management system keeps track of, analyses, and calculates the average time each individual spends from their arrival at the airport to their departure.

Similarly, for arriving passengers, the system monitors the time from their arrival to their departure with their luggage.

Furthermore, the system collects data on the waiting times of arriving passengers for public transportation services, enabling improvements to these services.

Since its launch in 1999, Beijing Airport has expanded to encompass three terminal buildings, 372 aprons, and three runways, serving a total of 82 airlines operating 221 routes, including 138 domestic and 83 international.

It employs real-time surveillance through 16,000 security cameras and 22,000 motion-tracking sensors. Suriya indicated that the Beijing airport model could be a blueprint for the Suvarnabhumi airport’s AI upgrade.

Meanwhile, Suvarnabhumi International Airport plans to replace the existing automatic passport-checking channels with new ones from this Wednesday until June 4. This may result in longer queues at the airport’s automatic passport checking zone, reported Bangkok Post.

In similar news, Airports of Thailand (AoT) disclosed plans to elevate Suvarnabhumi Airport into the league of the world’s top 50 airports within a year and subsequently to the top 20 by 2028. This announcement was made by AoT Director Kirati Kijmanawat.

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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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