Operators worry over Suvarnabhumi airport congestion

Crowds of travellers queue for check-in at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Crowds of travellers queue for check-in at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Tourism operators have raised concerns over airport congestion, with heavy traffic already clogging Suvarnabhumi airport during busy hours this week.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said a video of a large crowd of passengers at Suvarnabhumi airport circulated widely on social media Sunday, causing alarm for authorities.

He said tourist numbers might not be the cause of congestion as the flow of arrivals today remains less than before the pandemic.

Mr Sisdivachr blames improper management, as immigration counters were not fully opened and the number of staff was insufficient.

"The number of inbound tourists is still not that high," he said.

"We need to be better prepared as more flights are scheduled to return in the high season, particularly when Thailand hosts big events like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [Apec] summit this month."

"Not only VIP guests require care, but also normal tourists. We need to provide good service equally," he said.

Chamnan Srisawat, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said this incident shows the economy and tourism are reviving after the pandemic.

"I hope the government will hire more workers for the immigration counters, either on a short-term or long-term basis, to allow arrivals to proceed through the airport without long delays," said Mr Chamnan.

He said the volume of arrivals is predictable based on flight schedules.

"We need to impress tourists, starting from the airport, as tourism is the main driver of our economy," he said.

In the past month, the number of arrivals via every international port peaked at 69,784 on Oct 22.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Bureau earlier confirmed to the media the photos of congestion occurred from 1-5pm when there were an average of 20 flights and 3,000-4,000 passengers per hour.

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  • alarm: fear and anxiety that somebody feels when something dangerous or unpleasant might happen or has happened - ความกังวล
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • blame: to say or think that someone or something did something wrong or is responsible for something bad happening - ตำหนิ
  • circulate: to send to many different people - หมุนเวียน
  • congestion: a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles - แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน
  • hire: to pay someone to work for you - จ้าง
  • Immigration Bureau: the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there - สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
  • improper: not suited or appropriate to the situation - ไม่เหมาะสม ไม่สมควร
  • inbound: travelling towards a particular point, particularly into a city - ขาเข้า (opposite of outbound ขาออก)
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • insufficient: not enough - ไม่เพียงพอ
  • pandemic: a disease that affects almost everyone in a very large area - โรคที่มีการแพร่กระจายหรือระบาดไปทั่ว
  • peak (adj): to reach the highest amount or level, before becoming lower - ขึ้นจนถึงจุดสุดยอด, ช่วงเวลาที่หนาแน่นที่สุด
  • predictable: when it is easy to see or "predict" what will happen in the future -
  • revive: to come or bring something back to existence or use - ฟื้นฟู, ทำให้เกิดขึ้นอีก
  • summit: a meeting or a series of meetings between leaders of two or more countries - การประชุมสุดยอด
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