Connect with us


Safety First: Phuket Airport security meets international standards



PHUKET: News about the grand opening of the international terminal at Phuket International Airport (PIA) has littered the airwaves since its official ceremony in September. Like every new, large-scale project in Phuket, and indeed elsewhere in the world, the new terminal has had its fair share of teething problems – something the public has been quick to notice, criticize and rail about.

However, one area where the new terminal has been roundly commended so far – for not only meeting, but exceeding expectations – is its state-of-the-art security system, including a full body scanner to match the level of security provided at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, the biggest in the Kingdom, and the sixth busiest airport in Asia.

The mammoth task of implementing this new system at PIA was entrusted to ASM Security Management Company Limited (ASM), which was formed in August 2006 as a joint venture between Loxley Public Company Limited and ICTS Europe Holdings BV.

Loxley is a business leader in many areas of commerce and industry, covering telecommunications, broadcasting, and general infrastructure that includes power, transport, environment and construction materials.

The company was originally involved in the export of primary products, such as rice and lumber from Thailand, and later made a move toward the import and sale of industrial and advanced technology products.

With a 74-year history as the market pioneer in cutting-edge technology, Loxley partnered with ICTS due to its position as the leading provider of aviation security services serving more than 45 airports in 20 European countries.

ASM mainly works to improve standards in security training and to measure the quality of implementation of those standards.

“The security standards we have implemented at Phuket International Airport are similar to what you see in the UK and all over Europe. We provide the airport with manpower and we train all our staff, about 1,400 people in all,” says Karn Thongyai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of ASM.

Not only are they required to meet the minimum standards set by the local regulators – Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, in this case – but also standards agreed as per their contract with the client, which is Airports of Thailand (AoT).

The company aims for continuous improvement of standards, and is tested by international auditors, including European, American and Australian regulators, on a regular basis.

Their staff is trained using high-tech simulation software known as CBT, or computer-based training.

“We have a dedicated training facility and have invested a huge amount of money in CBT. During training, staff can use the simulation machines to understand and interpret the information that is presented to them,” says Keith Hollingdale, PQCT Director at ASM.

“They learn how to use that information to make a decision on whether something poses a threat and how to deal with it. Things like body and luggage searches are also part of the training.”

The training also focuses on the ability to identify and mediate if any articles such as knives, scissors or other sharp objects – or blunt items that can be used as weapons – or firearms, corrosives, explosives or any other prohibited items as defined by International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, are found on a passenger’s person or in their luggage.

After two weeks of simulation-based ‘classroom’ training, security staff are given extensive on-the-job training.

“During that period, staff actually come into the operation and their activities are monitored by more experienced members. This is when they get to practice what they’ve learned and get feedback about how they’re doing and where they need improvement. What you can’t replicate in a classroom environment is meeting people and dealing with problems as they occur. It’s necessary to get hands-on experience for that,” says Mr Hollingdale.

The team at ASM brings with it extensive knowledge and experience from having worked in diverse fields and settings worldwide.

Mr Karn, who is also the Executive Vice President of Loxley, has more than 30 years of experience with the company.

“In terms of security, I hadn’t seen any company in Thailand doing what I thought needed to be done to bring us on par with other countries around the world. When I was first introduced to ICTS – which had been running this system in many European countries already – I became interested in bringing the same standard to Thailand,” he says.

“My background is not from the area of security at all, but I saw the opportunity and gathered the right people to work with me and make it happen. I’m lucky to be surrounded by many good people who helped me put this together, and we have had great success, both at Suvarnabhumi and in Phuket.”

Mr Hollingdale has worked at Loxley for six years, before which he spent more than a decade working with ICTS Europe.

“We have a really good team here in Phuket and all over Thailand who are really interested in what they’re doing and see the benefit of their work. I’ve travelled around the world and in some countries, you don’t get this level of enthusiasm. The people are keen to learn and apply the knowledge they have acquired during training. Justifiably, they feel a lot of pride in what they’re doing. You can see that they really do care about their work.”

Ruij Sangkhlavipa, Vice President – Operations Task Group at Loxley and Chief Operating Officer at ASM, has decades of airline industry experience. His previous tenures include working as the station manager for Scandinavian Airlines at Suvarnabhumi Aiport and as a security system consultant for AoT during the move from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

“The message we would like to give travellers is that security is everyone’s responsibility. If you see something suspicious, you must raise an alarm. You cannot only rely on security officers, especially at the airport,” he says.

“We hope that when you come to the airport, you understand that we are following regulations laid down by the authorities – at times we may have to confront you about things. I just want to clarify that this is being done for your own safety. Our staff is under immense pressure, not only because there are a lot of passengers going through, but also because of the things they sometimes have to do as part of their job.”

— Zohaib Sikander


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism19 mins ago

Thailand’s economy grows but it still misses China’s cash

Thailand47 mins ago

Bars and clubs in Thailand proposed to open until 4.00 am | GMT

Bangkok60 mins ago

Three bars shut down in Bangkok lacking licenses, Covid safety

Sponsored23 hours ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of truth set for September 3

Road deaths16 hours ago

UPDATE: Chon Buri police couldn’t find victim of car crash… on the back seat

Protests16 hours ago

‘Democracy Must Go On:’ Protestors have three demands for Thailand’s government

Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Opposition to Thailand govt hosting former Sri Lanka president

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok16 hours ago

Bangkok OAP arrested after slapstick armed robbery of gold shop

Phuket17 hours ago

Phuket officials say no human trafficking cases found in island province

Hong Kong17 hours ago

Hong Kong seizes 20 million baht of heroin hidden in Thai kickboxing pads

Crime18 hours ago

Nigerian and Vietnamese couple found dead linked to drug trade

Thailand18 hours ago

Thailand workers could earn over 100,000 baht in Saudi Arabia

Chon Buri19 hours ago

Mountain B victims to be compensated by Thailand govt

Pattaya19 hours ago

Free noodles for beach cleaners after Pattaya Music Festival mess

Thailand20 hours ago

CCSA to give thumbs up to 4am licensing in Thailand next week

Tourism20 hours ago

Lots of Hong Kongers are searching for flights to Bangkok

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11