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Immigration braces for surge in Chinese New Year arrivals in Thailand

Thailand’s Immigration Bureau is preparing for a surge in foreign arrivals over Chinese New Year, with particular attention being paid to the automatic biometrics kiosks at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

On January 24, a breakdown in the immigration checking kiosks caused long queues at the airport, with extra immigration officers having to be drafted in to carry out manual checks. Nation Thailand reports that the bureau has pledged there will be no repeat of that scenario.

Ittiphol Itthisarnronnchai, chief of the Immigration Bureau, says his office has been working with Airports of Thailand to ensure there is no further system breakdown.

He adds that checks carried out by technicians from the company that installed the system, MSC Sittipol, showed the breakdown was caused by networking equipment. Since then, the faulty parts have been replaced and the system updated so that it will continue to work, even when offline. However, Ittiphol says extra immigration officers will be on hand, just in case.

Meanwhile, he met with officials on Tuesday, February 6, to discuss safety at Suvarnabhumi over the holiday period, with the airport expecting some 80,000 passengers a day.

Additional police officers are being drafted in to direct passengers to the automatic kiosks during peak times, in order to alleviate congestion. Officials have set a target of less than 30 minutes’ waiting time for each passenger.

The immigration chief says he’s also checking Phuket and Chiang Mai airports, to ensure immigration officers stationed there are also prepared for the busy Chinese New Year period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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