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Phuket airport GM addresses hours-long queues

PHUKET: Phuket International Airport General Manager Petch Chancharoen told The Phuket News today (Feb 6) that Airports of Thailand (AoT) are in the process of resolving long departure queues, which they say have been brought on due to a shortage of immigration officials, after claims from some passengers that they waited over three hours in queues yesterday (Feb 5).

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 6 February 2018, 06:02PM

The first solution to the long queues is that we are going to extend the shifts of our current immigration officials. For example, someone who usually finishes their shift at 9pm may have to extend their shift until 10pm so that there are always officials working.

We are preparing to welcome many tourists during the Chinese New Year. For this period, we will hopefully transfer over 200 staff temporarily from Suvarnabhumi Airport. That is about 200 in total, for every department,” said Mr Petch.

I am going to have a meeting with the head of airport immigration soon to organise recruiting more officers to help us,” he added.

Dr Petch explained that in addition to a shortage of immigration workforce, much of the problem was also that some flights were inconveniently timed at the same periods in the day.

Yes, we admit that the queues can be very long, but we also ask that people look at why they are long. Often there are up to two or three flights taking off within similar time frames. So the queues become long all at once, and then it all calms down again very quickly,” explained Mr Petch.

For this, I request a bit of time to resolve this issue. But I would like to note that passengers spend an average of only 45 seconds at the counter each,” he said.

The speed of the immigration process is not the problem. It is actually very fast for each person.

The arrivals queues are not so much of a problem,” he continued, despite sources revealing to The Phuket News yesterday morning that they had waited an hour and a half at the International arrival hall.

For the convenience of people, we will also install more waiting areas and seats. We will create more space on the third floor of the International terminal where people can relax, with restaurants to eat. It’s just a matter of making the space. By June we will have more spaces and more seats,” he added.

Deputy General Manager of the airport Sumpan Kutranoon clarified that in situations where the queues are busy, airline staff will create shortcut queues for those nearing take-off to ensure they don’t miss their flights due to the queues.

Although we ask passengers to take responsibility to check in at least 45 minutes before their flights, in the case where there is a very long queue, airline staff will create a shortcut for urgent passengers.

If for other reasons passengers do not board the plane, staff will simply remove the bags for safety reasons, such as the potential of bombs,” he added.

Meanwhile, Phuket International Airport today (Feb 6) announced in a press release that they have requested the budget for a new electrical transformer after an electrical problem caused a shut-off at the international terminal (phase 1) yesterday (Feb 5) from 5:30pm to today at 1:30am.

The statement said, “The Phuket airport staff immediately checked after being notified that the electricity was shut off. Staff found that an electric short circuit occurred on a 1500 kVA transformer where oil was found leaking on top of the transformer.

So this affected a power distribution system to lighting devices at the airport apron, departure terminal and arrival conveyor belt,” it said.

Phuket AoT staff fixed the problem by providing 250kVA and 6kVA mobile lighting units for the airport apron. Supporting lighting equipment was also provided by AoT development project constructor (Sino-Thai Pub Co Ltd) to service at the conveyor belt and departure terminal. The electric distribution system was backed to normal at 1:30am today (Feb 6),” the statement explained.

The incident did not affect the security system and runways. We found that the transformer has been used since 1989. Phuket airport will urgently request for a budget to buy a new transformer to replace the old one. We apologise for any inconvenience.”



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DeKaaskopp | 07 February 2018 - 19:19:26

"There 's a special lane for Thais who don't need to queue"It's not a new information that Thai's have their own lane.But it's new for me that they don't have to queue.Does this mean they don't have to show a passport and can walk through without stopping? Please check your information again,they are wrong!

Informer | 07 February 2018 - 16:47:01

There's a special lane for Thai's who don't need to queue. 

Petch Chancharoen & Sumpan Kutranoon don't care how long foreigners queue for. 

They care about how long their staff work for.

malczx7r | 07 February 2018 - 11:59:10

Going to have more seats and spaces by June, 4 months to fit seats, who are they employing to work so slow? A man with one leg and one arm?? Who's in charge of the flight schedule, can they not look and plan when busy periods due to 3 planes landing at the same and organise staff accordingly, well obviously not! Smart city they claim! 

Pauly44 | 07 February 2018 - 10:20:00

Totally incompetent management is the root cause of the issues,  the immigration officers are probably overworked as it is and his first action is to ask them to work longer shifts, says it all right there,  how about making sure every available desk is staffed adequately with fresh friendly staff at peak periods for starters! Pathetic. 

malczx7r | 07 February 2018 - 10:14:03

Like someone else said, it's not like they don't know the flight schedule and that it's Chinese new year, but hey why think more than 30 minutes ahead! 45 seconds at the immigration counter, really! That's if the official can be bothered to get off the game/line msg app on their "smart" phone!  Even in the Philippines, there are signs telling staff not to use phones durin...

Fascinated | 07 February 2018 - 09:23:00

Translations of our prolific poster's comments please? He's descended into gibberish again.

BenPendejo | 07 February 2018 - 00:43:26

What a shame for people travelling on long flights, to be greeted with this crap service...and this is nothing new. Then what...walk outside after your 2 hour wait, then have to deal with the dishonest thug public transport mafia, then pray to whoever that you don't end up with a drunk/stoned and reckless driver. This place really doesn't have it's s*#! together at all.

Kurt | 06 February 2018 - 21:59:07

Very long time already people can read 'addressing' about this issue.
Don't waist time with addressing and things like that.
Stop 'addressing'. Act!

Make the airport functional, handle matters. Don't you read Phuket Airport Hosanna TAT figures, and adjust airport operations in time to TAT figures?

Kurt | 06 February 2018 - 19:05:32

Don't bother arrivals with airport staff work schedules and problems. Not their concern to understand.

A aircraft not takes off elsewhere as long Phuket Airport not conforms/agree arrival time! ( slot times)
So Phuket knows sometimes 10 hours in advance when aircrafts arrives during Immigration officers meal times!
To start talks NOW about Chinese N-Y arrivals is rather late

Fascinated | 06 February 2018 - 19:00:53

Same old flannel. How are they going to cope with the 'huge influx of Chinese tourists' promised by the TAT over the coming Chinese New Year. Chaos springs to mind. They have had ages to sort this issue out but we hear the same lame excuses. 

Guess what will happen in Bangkok if they temporarily transfer IOs down here!

marcher | 06 February 2018 - 18:45:30

No. The first solution would be to sack this incompetent GM and appoint someone with the savvy not to let disasters like this happen

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