Suvarnabhumi opens new security area
BANGKOK, 14 June 2012: Security checkpoint on the east side of Suvarnabhumi Airport will be relocated to new platform in the departure hall, effective 0400, 15 June. The checkpoint on the western side will be ready in August.
The move should alleviate congestion in the terminal building.
Passengers will have to take an escalator up to the platform and after completing the process, go down to the immigration passport control. Premium passengers, children, elders and disabled passengers will continue to use facilities on the lower level.
Suvarnabhumi Airport general manager, Somchai Sawasdeepon, said the new area would ease the congestion as it gives 1,600 sqm of space at each side; instead of the present 490 sqm behind the immigration area while freeing up the connection zones. Walk-through metal detectors and X-Ray machines will also double to six and 12 respectively. Also, there are two CT80s explosive detection systems for luggage screening and two body scanners used on a random basis.
The new facilities inclusive of the downstairs premium lanes will be able to serve 3,600 passengers per hour at each side (7,200 per hour, east and west), up from around 1,440 passengers per hour.
However the immigration zone could still face congestion, Mr Somchai acknowledged, because there has been no increase in staffing at checkpoints.
Immigration Division 2 commander, Pol Maj Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn said finding staff to keep all the counters open would always be a challenge, even though the government has approved the Immigration Division 2 request to increase immigration officers to 1,700.
“We are short of around 500 officers. The job itself is not very attractive and it is tedious sitting at a counter for a long time,” he said.
One solution is the auto channels in order to reduce the use of human resources.
The immigration started to use auto channels for Thai passengers, inbound and outbound from 11 April and from the beginning of this month, it ended the passport stamp requirement. There are 16 auto-channels that cost Bt71.9 million placed in each of the four immigration areas in departure and arrival zones.
“About 50% of the Thai passengers use the machines…It helps to reduce the immigration process from 40 seconds to 20 seconds,” the commander said.
Pol Maj Gen Nathathorn added the immigration would add a service for expatriates who reside in Thailand, but they would need to go to an immigration office to first register before they could use the machines. In the future, Phuket Airport will get auto-channels as well.
The cancellation of the TM6 form for Thai passengers will require a change of law. The TM6 form will continue to be required for foreign visitors.
Security checkpoints for domestic flights that are now just behind the check-in counter will move to the entrance of Concourse A and B (not before the gates as was the case in the original design).