Beijing airport inspires push for AI system
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Beijing airport inspires push for AI system

Suriya hails reduced processing time

Tourists at the Suvarnabhumi airport passenger terminal on April 11 during this year’s Songkran festival. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Tourists at the Suvarnabhumi airport passenger terminal on April 11 during this year’s Songkran festival. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Ministry of Transport may adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to improve airport management in Thailand, as part of the government's plan to make the country a regional aviation hub.

The idea to introduce AI in the airport management system was unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit after this trip to Beijing Capital International Airport in China on Thursday.

With the help of AI, the Beijing airport has drastically reduced the total time required to unload passenger luggage from aircraft, clean the cabin and provide necessary pre-flight maintenance, according to Mr Suriya.

The AI and big data technology, which have been developed extensively in the past nine years to improve the airport's management efficiency, are now paying off, he said.

The airport's AI-powered management system, in the case of departing passengers, helps track, analyse and calculate the average time each passenger spends from the moment they arrive at the airport until they leave, he said.

As for arriving passengers, the time since they arrive until they leave with their luggage is tracked, he said, adding the system can also collect data on how much time arriving passengers wait for public transport services. The information can be used to improve these services as well.

Since its inauguration in 1999, the Beijing airport now has three terminal buildings, 372 aprons and three runways, he said. It serves up to 82 airlines, which in total operate 221 routes, including 138 domestic and 83 international.

Beijing airport's space is monitored in real-time through 16,000 security cameras and 22,000 motion-tracking sensors, said Mr Suriya, adding the airport is a role model for Suvarnabhumi airport to upgrade its services with AI.

Meanwhile, Suvarnabhumi airport plans to install new automatic passport-checking channels replacing old ones, from Wednesday until June 4. The work might result in a longer queue at the automatic passport checking zone of the airport.

Airports of Thailand (AoT) Plc, meanwhile, uploaded rendered images of Chiang Mai airport's new international terminal, a building designed to have more than 70,000 square metres of usable space.

The terminal will feature a Lanna modern contemporary style, be eco-friendly and incorporate a universal design concept to ensure access for people with disabilities, said the AoT.

The 15-billion-baht first phase of the project is expected to win cabinet approval this year, so work could begin next year and finish in 2028, it said.

Upon completion of the first phase, the airport's capacity of handling passengers will be expanded to 16.5 million passengers per year, up from 8 million per year, said the AoT.

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