Staff dearth spurs warning

Staff dearth spurs warning

Travellers queue to check-in with carriers at Don Mueang International Airport during the Songkran holiday in April. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Travellers queue to check-in with carriers at Don Mueang International Airport during the Songkran holiday in April. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

Six airports under the Airports of Thailand's (AoT) management -- including the capital city's main international gateways at Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports -- may face operational chaos in the next couple of months if staff numbers fail to keep up with the increased demand for air travel.

AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn on Tuesday said the current fiscal year marks a critical time for the aviation industry worldwide, as the rebound in air travel demand could take a toll on the ground handling and passenger services capacities at six airports supervised by the AoT. While AoT did not retrench any of its employees during the pandemic, it did let go of many employees who weren't directly employed by the company, resulting in shortages as travel demand rebounds.

Furthermore, the numbers of taxis serving Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports are at half of what they used to be before the pandemic hit, causing lengthy queues at the airports' taxi stands especially during peak hours.

Before the pandemic, the six airports under AoT's management -- namely Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Chiang Rai, and Suvarnabhumi -- handled a combined 400,000 passengers a day. That number dropped considerably at the height of the pandemic before jumping back to 230,000-240,000 per day this month.

The AoT estimates 96 million passengers will use the six airports this year.


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