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Surprise! Thai PM visits Suvarnabhumi to check immigration delays

PHOTO: Daily News

The Thai PM has carried out a “surprise” visit to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, to check how passenger procedures are working (or not). (His ‘surprise’ visit would have had to have been pre-booked with the airport head of immigration, who showed him around, airport management, security details, transport, etc)

Nation Thailand reports that PM Srettha Thavisin’s ‘unannounced’ visit took place yesterday, February 5, with the PM saying he wanted to identify any problems and help solve them. He also confirmed a national airport upgrade plan is in the works and will be announced next month.

(It also wasn’t much of a surprise for the media who were there following the PM around)

The PM told staff he wanted to see first-hand the airport in action and watch processes such as immigration procedures, instead of relying on reports. He also told staff any issues identified were not problems, but rather opportunities to improve.

In particular, he singled out system integration, pointing out that none of the IT systems being used across different airport processes were connected. He also checked on issues such as the stability of backup IT systems, the shortage of immigration officers, and other issues facing arriving and departing passengers.

Srettha says a solution needs to be found to the issue of immigration systems going down during peak periods. The PM says immigration checks should be done in less than 45 seconds, but at times of heavy traffic, that time increases to over 1 minute person, which then creates a backlog. Srettha has vowed to solve this problem this year.

“With tourist numbers now matching pre-Covid levels, it is crucial that tourists wait no more than 30 minutes in the queue for being stamped in or out.”

The PM also hopes to solve the ongoing issue of a shortage of immigration officials. Srettha says the matter will be addressed in collaboration with the Office of Civil Service Commission.

The PM has also vowed to address delays with the baggage retrieval system and the departures process. He wants to see baggage retrieval waiting times reduced to less than 30 minutes and to reduce the time spent on departure processes so that passenger time at the airport can be brought under 2 hours.

Once these improvements have been made, the PM says he’s confident travellers to the kingdom will enjoy a new and improved Suvarnabhumi experience.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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