Srettha maps air hub goal as Songkran festival nears

Srettha maps air hub goal as Songkran festival nears

Positioning Suvarnabhumi airport as a top five global airport and Thailand as an aviation hub are priorities of the investment policy.
Positioning Suvarnabhumi airport as a top five global airport and Thailand as an aviation hub are priorities of the investment policy.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has set an ambitious goal to make Thailand a regional aviation centre and one of the world's five largest cargo distribution hubs.

The premier is due to explain his vision in a live broadcast on both the government's NBT television channel and online and social media platforms at 9.30am on Friday.

The planned broadcast and online address of the aviation hub project was announced via Mr Srettha's X account on Thursday.

Following the PM's announcement, Kerati Kijmanawat, Airports of Thailand (AoT) president and director, offered a glimpse of the plan under the "Ignite Thailand, Aviation Hub" campaign.

The essential details will be divulged by the premier today, according to Mr Kerati, who said the AoT has already submitted the plan to materialise the hub vision to Mr Srettha.

To ensure the high quality and speed of airport services, the AoT has put in place a raft of measures, said Mr Kerati.

He was responding to Mr Srettha's remark on the need to accelerate the speed of airport services in preparation for the Songkran festival next month. The premier made the remark during his recent tour of Suvarnabhumi airport.

Eight hundred more airport staff have been recruited to support security checks and assist passengers, said Mr Kerati. They are due to start on March 30 in rotating shifts.

The Immigration Bureau (IB) is also adding more officers to beat the long queues during rush hours at the country's main air gateway.

The IB's Division 2, located at Suvarnabhumi airport, recently hired 200 immigration officers who are due to start working today. Some 400 more will join the IB later, said Mr Kerati.

Also, the first 20 automatic passport-check channels, equipped with advanced technology, are due to be installed on June 15 at both departure and arrivals halls, he said, adding the other 60 channels will be installed by July 15.

The speed of pre-departure security checks could be improved if the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) approves the AoT's request to cancel time-consuming requirements such as the mandated removal of passengers' shoes, he said.

Samart Ratchapolsitte, deputy leader of the Democrat Party, urged the government to speed up its plan to expand Suvarnabhumi airport.

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