Phuket Airport Director Monrudee Gettuphan revealed that the “in-line” scanners were brought online at midnight on Saturday, with passengers no longer needing to have their baggage screened at the entrance doors to the terminal.
Passengers can now check in their hold baggage immediately, where it will be scanned via a conveyor-belt system before being loaded onto the aircraft, Ms Monrudee explained.
Previously, passengers had to check all of their baggage through an x-ray machine before entering the International Terminal, causing huge queues during busy holiday periods.
In one of the worst cases, hundreds of passengers were forced to wait outside the terminal during the New Year holidays while only two staff were available to conduct security scans on baggage (See story here).
The problem gained such notoriety that Thailand’s Transport Minister Lt Gen Arkhom Termpittayapaisith inspected Phuket Airport in person in January and ordered urgent action be taken to resolve the crisis. (See story here.)
However, Phuket Airport management has so far declined to comment on the security issue of unscreened baggage now allowed freely and unchecked into the terminal itself.
Ms Monrudee has been unavailable to comment to The Phuket News regarding the security concerns. All other airport management contacted by The Phuket News said they were not authorised to comment.
However, a public statement issued by airport authorities assured, “The security system is installed in accordance with international standards. If baggage containing suspicious items are found, the passenger will be notified before they board the aircraft and measures will be implemented to ensure safety.”