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Don Mueang airport director transferred following walkway incident

PHOTO: Spring News

Following the tragic incident where a passenger had to have her leg amputated on site after it became stuck in a moving walkway at Don Mueang, the airport director has been transferred.

Nation Thailand reports that the removal of Karun Thanakuljeerapat was part of a “reshuffle” by Airports of Thailand. In total, 68 senior executives have been transferred following an AoT board meeting yesterday, July 26. An unnamed source says the reason for the restructuring is to “improve efficiency”.

Karun will take up the position of advisor at AoT headquarters, with Wijit Kaesaithiam, currently director of Chiang Mai International Airport, replacing him at Don Mueang.

But it’s likely that the sidelining of the airport director is at least partly due to the incident, the initial response from the airport, and their early lack of co-operation with investigating police.

The removal of Karun follows a release of initial findings after an investigation by AoT into the tragic June 29 incident at Don Meuang, in which a female passenger had to have her left leg amputated after it got stuck in a moving walkway in the domestic terminal.

The probe has confirmed that the accident was caused by one of the plates on the travelator slipping off its frame. It’s understood this happened as a result of missing screws, which were subsequently found under the moving walkway. The travelator has been installed since 1987 and had a partial upgrade by its Japanese manufacturer, Hitachi, in 2015.

According to the Nation Thailand report, AOT director Kirati Kitmanawat says the board is proposing to hire an external investigator to monitor the condition of all walkways at the airport. Kirati says this person would need to be an expert in travelators, escalators, and related equipment.

Airport bosses also plan to install CCTV cameras at all travelators to allow staff to check for damage or missing parts. In addition, an external auditor will be appointed to monitor the maintenance of airport equipment, with a view to improving standard operating procedures.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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