More staff, autogates to speed up Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport’s queues

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Airports of Thailand President Kerati Kijmanawat, third from right, and Pol Maj Gen Choengron Rimpadee, fourth from right, commander of Immigration Division 2, inspect Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday. (Photo: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

More staff, autogates to speed up Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport’s queues

Airport reacts to PM’s complaints

Airport and immigration authorities are rostering additional staff and installing more automatic processing gates in response to the prime minister’s complaints about slow passenger queues at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Airports of Thailand (AoT) president Kerati Kijmanawat gave the assurance after inspecting Suvaranbhumi airport with Pol Maj Gen Choengron Rimpadee, commander of Immigration Division 2, on Sunday.

They were responding to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s complaint that immigration queues were still too long and too slow, made during a second surprise visit to Suvarnabhumi airport.

Mr Kerati admitted there was a problem. Passengers took about one hour and ten minutes to complete immigration procedures during peak hours, and about 46 minutes on average. During peak hours, there were 5,000-6,000 passengers an hour, he said.

AoT’s target was to limit waiting times to 30 minutes, Mr Kerati said.

He said AoT would deploy 800 new staff to support searches and help passengers by March 30. It had also asked immigration police to ensure all immigration booths were staffed during peak hours.

Immigration Division 2, which supervises airports, would assign 200 new officers to Suvarnabhumi airport on March 1, and 400 more by the end of this year.

By July 15, there would be 80 more automatic channels for inbound and outbound passengers, with more efficient software to check passports. Twenty new gates would be installed by June 15.

Advanced tech would facilitate power bank examination, and end the requirement for passengers to take off their shoes.

AoT had installed a Common Use Passenger Processing System on the fourth floor of the passenger terminal, and travellers could check in and load luggage themselves, and had asked 24 airlines to open check-in services four hours before scheduled departure times.

AoT would expand the eastern side of the passenger terminal by 2027, Mr Kerati said.