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AoT claims airport security as reason for ‘approved’ taxi drivers

AoT claims airport security as reason for ‘approved’ taxi drivers

PHUKET: Airports of Thailand Phuket branch (AoT Phuket), which operates Phuket International Airport, has issued a statement claiming airport security as the reason for the need to allow only “approved” taxi drivers to operate at the airport.

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By The Phuket News

Friday 30 September 2022, 11:07AM


The statement was posted online by the Phuket branch of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) late yesterday afternoon, but not posted by AoT Phuket itself until two hours later, at 7:02pm.

The statement was marked as in response to “posts on social media” over tourists at the airport being “asked” by security guards to exit a van they had ordered by the Bolt app because the driver and the vehicle were not allowed to pick up any passengers at the airport.

“Phuket Airport clarified the case of social media publishing photos of staff inviting guests to get out of the car because of breaking the rules. Phuket Airport is a controlled aircraft zone. Such an act is an offense under the Ministerial Regulation No. 2 (1985),” said the AoT Phuket statement.

Of note, the statement was not issued under the name of any authority at the airport, despite Monchai Tanode currently serving as General Manager at Phuket International Airport as an employee of Airports of Thailand (AoT).

As clarified earlier this month, Airports of Thailand (AoT) is not a government agency or a private company. It is a state enterprise.

“On September 28, 65 at 6:50pm Phuket Airport Center (CCTV) was informed by a bus ticket salesman that a van had come to pick up passengers at Gate 1, the arrival platform. At the domestic terminal of Phuket airport, via a service call through an application,” the statement continued.

“Phuket Airport would like to clarify that Phuket airport is a controlled aircraft area. Therefore, such an act is an offense under Ministerial Regulation No. 2 (1985) issued under the Airports Authority of Thailand Act B.E,” the statement “clarified”.

Any person who performs any of three acts may be deemed as guilty of unlawful exploitation of the airport as a government facility, the statement said.

People are not allowed to announce or advertise their service with a sound device, a signboard or any other means at the airport.

People are not allowed to transport goods into the restricted airport area (any airport area) unless permitted by measures prescribed by Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) and Ministerial Regulation No. 14 B.E. 2543 issued under the Airports Authority of Thailand Act B.E. 

People are not allowed to solicit aircraft passengers or others to use vehicles or any other services that are not authorised by the competent official, the statement said.

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“The objective is to track important information or complaints for outside services because Phuket Airport has a registration system and a database of records of drivers of public service vehicles licensed to operate at Phuket Airport’s domestic and international terminals in order to inform and publicise [this information] to passengers and stakeholders,” the statement noted.

“In this regard, Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) attaches great importance to the security measures of all six airports, especially issues that affect the safety of passengers and the confidence of the country’s tourism. 

“And in Phuket, if you see an offender or make a complaint, you can report the offense through the Security Center at Phuket Airport phone number 076 351 191, the Phuket Airport Administration Department Tel: 0 7635 1520,” the statement concluded.

While lengthy in its explanation, the statement by AoT Phuket made no mention that the only taxi drivers who are allowed by AoT Phuket to pick up passengers at the airport pay millions of baht through a concession for the exclusive rights to pick up passengers at the airport

The statement also did not respond to the one question asked by the taxi driver, Suriya Thongsamak, yesterday: to publicly declare the exact rules of which drivers are allowed and which drivers are not.

The current “understanding”, as evidenced in practice, is that independent taxi drivers who operate through an app are allowed to drop passengers off at the airport, but not allowed to pick up passengers at the airport.

The statement made no mention of this. 

The statement also gave no explanation why AoT Phuket does not recognise drivers fully licenced and registered with the Phuket Land Transport Office and with fully registered vehicles to operate as taxi drivers “anywhere in Phuket”.

AoT Phuket in its statement also ignored that plainly seen in the videos posted online was a black limousine from a international brand-name resort parked in front of the airport terminal ignored and unchallenged by security guards at the airport just metres away while they were dispatching Mr Suriya and ordering the tourists, a young foreign couple, out of his van.

Oddly, the photos published by PR Phuket in issuing the statement planily showed a registered taxi parked in a zone in front of the main terminal dedicated for disabled people. No explanation was given as to why this was allowed.

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JohnC | 02 October 2022 - 08:49:52

Complete BS! Seriously, how do they expect people to believe the shite they sprout. Next they will be stopping ordinary citizens from picking up their own family and friends themselves and try and force them to use the expensive, very poor and unsafe services approved by AoT. 

Kurt | 02 October 2022 - 00:06:03

@cpfleger,  PLTO, AoT, and Tat sleep with a flashlight under the same blanket, deviding under cover the 'interests' among themselve. All in Thai harmony. Sabai-sabai.

cpfleger | 01 October 2022 - 13:33:31

Has the AoT now become a subdivision of the TAT?

charles | 30 September 2022 - 21:24:36

Fascinated , no worries  here,  they purely state drivers of PSV  Public service vehicles picked up  dropped off plenty of friends at both international & domestic with no issues  yet  if it becomes an issue i will just go into the parking lot  which is what app drivers could also do 

BrianinKathu | 30 September 2022 - 17:53:09

Obviously a much higher security risk in Phuket than in Suvarnabhumi Airport where metered taxis can pick up passengers

Capricornball | 30 September 2022 - 17:00:25

100% crock of s#!^. AoT is nothing more than part of the transport mafia. If it was about security, they would not allow armed taxis with mentally unstable drivers anywhere on the premises. And save the lame-a&& argument that it is an "aircraft controlled area". There is no access for any non-airport vehicle in aircraft parking or taxi areas. This whole scenario with AoT needs to...

Kurt | 30 September 2022 - 14:08:54

Is AoT checking or all appoved taxi drivers have no weapons on board of their cars, like steel rods, axes, big jungle knives, guns when they drive into airport area? Why are they allowed to park at disable parking spots? Does he pay AoT extra for being able to do so?  Oh, don't bother to call that complain number. The moment they hear a foreign voice/language they drop the phone.

Fascinated | 30 September 2022 - 13:57:14

Complete BS- CCTV records all vehicles dropping off and picking up. Am I a security risk picking up a friend- I thought not. Just trying to quantify their 'arrangement' with the taxi mafias. Not allowed to use a 'sound device'? So why am I bombarded with 'taxi, taxi, where you go' on arrival? Keep digging that hole.

 

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