Suvarnabhumi immigration officials told to sit tight

Suvarnabhumi immigration officials told to sit tight

A passenger hands her passport to an immigration official at Suvarnabhumi airport on Dec 23, 2016. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
A passenger hands her passport to an immigration official at Suvarnabhumi airport on Dec 23, 2016. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Immigration officials on duty at Suvarnabhumi airport during morning peak hours have been ordered not to leave their stations to keep the lines of departing passengers flowing.

The stringent directive was issued by Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn on Monday after complaints about a long wait from air travellers to have their passports stamped in the morning.

The big boss at the bureau said up to 14 officers, or about 80% of the workforce at the airport, had already been deployed in the morning but passengers claimed they saw an empty counter as some officials might have gone to the toilet during the long working hours.

To solve the problem, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said he had ordered all duty officers to never leave their desks from 6am to 9am.

Morning hours are a peak period at Suvarnabhumi, when more flights leave the airport.

The bureau chief also promised to transfer more officials under his supervision from other immigration posts to reduce the workload of their colleagues at Bangkok's international gateway.

He called an urgent meeting at the airport after social media showed foreign passengers thronged the area waiting for their documents to be processed on Sunday morning while some immigration counters were empty. 

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn claimed a check with all airlines leaving Bangkok during that period found only four Bangkok Airways passengers had missed their flights to Phnom Penh.

A further probe also showed the last person who passed through immigration was on board flight PG931, he said. There were other reasons the four passengers had missed their flights -- they might have spent too much time shopping, had a long meal or could not find the gates, he added.


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