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Thai Prime Minister’s Surprise Airport Inspection Unveils Slow Services, Vows Improvement


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Srettha orders improvement of immigration control at Suvarnabhumi airport
by Mitch Connor 

 

image.jpeg

Photo courtesy of Srettha Thavisin (X)

 

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has ordered improvements to the immigration control services at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, citing concerns over long queues and excessive waiting times. PM Srettha conducted an unexpected inspection of the airport on Saturday evening, his second unannounced visit since February 5.

 

The prime minister revealed that he had personally timed the duration of various procedures from the moment passengers exited their vehicles to when they finally boarded their flights.

 

Similarly, he tracked the time taken for arrivals to disembark and clear immigration. He expressed dissatisfaction with the protracted process, and urged officials to establish time limits for processing each passenger, reported Bangkok Post.

 

PM Srettha noted the critical need for improvements, stating, “This aspect needs to be improved urgently. I want Airports of Thailand (AoT) or immigration officials to work together to inspect the system at peak hours so they can learn about the problems and find ways to solve them.”


The prime minister’s unanticipated visits precede scheduled upgrades across the country’s airports and aviation sector, set to commence next month. These enhancements include the construction of a new runway at Suvarnabhumi Airport.


AoT, according to its president Kerati Kijmanawat, is set to invest a total of 44 billion baht in the expansion of Suvarnabhumi Airport and the third phase of a development project at Don Mueang International Airport. Kerati reported that service and security improvements are already underway at Suvarnabhumi Airport, anticipating a total of 65 million passengers this year.

 

Don Mueang International Airport developments

 

Furthermore, the AoT aims to boost the daily flight capacity of Suvarnabhumi’s satellite terminal 1 from 50 flights to 120 within two months, and ultimately to 400 flights by year’s end. The East Expansion project will see an 8 billion baht investment towards enlarging Suvarnabhumi’s passenger building to accommodate an additional 15 million passengers annually.


The AoT will also channel 36 billion baht into the third phase of Don Mueang Airport’s development, which includes the construction of a new international terminal and refurbishment of passenger building 1. This expansion will raise the passenger capacity from 30 million to 50 million annually.

 

PM Srettha emphasised his ambition to position Thailand as a regional aviation hub, and his eagerness to impress foreign visitors from the moment they disembark. He stated, “We are trying to push for Thailand to become an aviation hub in the region as the country is now fully open to foreign visitors. I want officials to be service-minded and pay attention to visitors to impress them the moment they disembark. Everything should be seen as an opportunity to boost Thailand’s tourism.”

 

Full story: The Thaiger 2024-02-26

 

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22 minutes ago, webfact said:

I want Airports of Thailand (AoT) or immigration officials to work together to inspect the system at peak hours so they can learn about the problems and find ways to solve them.”

Brave new PM. Causing loss of face for AoT and Immigration. Essentially - 'You don't know your job enough to even see the problems, much less solutions.' Might be time for competent airport leadership, especially before the third runway and terminal go operational.

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Why is inspecting and touring an airport the job of a prime minister? Nothing will come of this government and to think that it's better than the last is just a charade.

 

They won't let that stupid money handout scheme die like it should despite the bot numerous times explaining how damaging it was and how unnecessary it was

 

I think we're just in a holding pattern until taksin returns

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2 hours ago, ChrisY1 said:

It's almost always a long and slow wait in the lines. After this visit by the esteemed PM, it will improve dramatically...for a couple of days!

I just cant understand why people don't do online check~in and join the much shorter queues. Maybe something to do with their Sim cards and data roaming.

I departed BKK a few days ago on EK,  (check in line T/U as depicted in the OP report) and online checkin line very short , but dozens waiting in the other lines. All done in a few minutes.

 

On another note I also tried the "Fast/Priority line for the first time, as I already had a re entry permit.

It wasnt fast track and took ages to get through.

The main hold ups appeared to be small family groups....especially of middle eastern and Southern Asian origin.

Not sure I'd bother with that again !

 

I was only a cheap old Economy pax, but the people who had paid for expensive tickets must have been p***ed off

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It's not just in airports. Shop in any supermarket here and 9/10 you'll see long queues at the 3 checkouts that are open, while 17 others are shut, staff on phones etc etc. Managers probably don't even bother turning up for work most of the time. They're the ones they should go after. They're the ones responsible.

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4 minutes ago, orchidfan said:

I just cant understand why people don't do online check~in and join the much shorter queues. Maybe something to do with their Sim cards and data roaming.

I departed BKK a few days ago on EK,  (check in line T/U as depicted in the OP report) and online checkin line very short , but dozens waiting in the other lines. All done in a few minutes.

 

On another note I also tried the "Fast/Priority line for the first time, as I already had a re entry permit.

It wasnt fast track and took ages to get through.

The main hold ups appeared to be small family groups....especially of middle eastern and Southern Asian origin.

Not sure I'd bother with that again !

 

I was only a cheap old Economy pax, but the people who had paid for expensive tickets must have been p***ed off

Yes, groups with multiple passports are a nightmare.

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2 minutes ago, Sluglord said:

 

It's not always available, especially on intl flights

True. But 90+% I fly Emirates, they email me about 48hrs ahead with a link to online checkin.

So I was mainly referring to my experiences with them....and the OP photo appears to be at Emirates checkin counters (?)

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5 hours ago, orchidfan said:

True. But 90+% I fly Emirates, they email me about 48hrs ahead with a link to online checkin.

So I was mainly referring to my experiences with them....and the OP photo appears to be at Emirates checkin counters (?)

Online check-in? Sure, web check-in lines might be shorter, which is about the only advantage. But the airlines can't issue boarding passes as far as I know, and if you've check-in bags you have to go to the check-in counter in any case. Also the check-in staff check any entry requirements at your destination like onward travel bookings.

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11 hours ago, hotchilli said:

Causing a stir among the ranks, about time the airport got shaken up a little bit.

They have money and staff but seem to lack ability and planning.

Surprise inspection, indeed. 

Going through the rhetorical motions.

 

Metaphorically akin to foxes watching the hen house. 

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11 hours ago, ThaiFelix said:

This guy obviously does not trust his subordinates to tell him whats going on.

well done, he did surprise me by going unannounced, that's a big step forward compared to the previous "good for nothing general"

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1 hour ago, bradiston said:

Online check-in? Sure, web check-in lines might be shorter, which is about the only advantage. But the airlines can't issue boarding passes as far as I know, and if you've check-in bags you have to go to the check-in counter in any case. Also the check-in staff check any entry requirements at your destination like onward travel bookings.

Yep..it's mainly for the very short (usually) check in line instead of waiting in slow moving zigzag line for 20 to 40 minutes.

And yes, the boarding pass they email me can't be used in many places (maybe Dubai for EK), and of course the bags have to be checked in anyway,  then issued with a new,hard copy,boarding pass, which is necessary to show in Bangkok, for example. I keep these carefully as they are hard "evidence" of my travels and "missed" 90 day reports (I know the entry and exit stamps are in the passport, but a bunch of collated boarding passes are easier, I guess.

 

Of course the check in staff had my passport for 5 minutes so could peruse my status at the destination.

But I've never been asked a single question by them....presumably because it's all kosher  

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8 hours ago, Puwa said:

Suvannabhumi has been a mess since the day it opened, so any kind of pressure from above is a welcome change. 

I have found it a mixed bag over the years...... beats DMG for getting to and from Pattaya by far though. 

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