Mr Arkhom said he had ordered Airports of Thailand (AoT), which operates six international airports in the Kingdom, including Phuket Airport, to ramp up efforts to have the luggage conveyor x-ray machines inside the brand-new facility up and running.
“Having x-ray machines (scan luggage) at the entrance to the International Terminal is causing long passenger queues, as we have seen in the news reports. (See story here.)
“This is because the conveyor belt x-ray machines inside the airport are being upgraded and will not be available until March 15,” he said.
Until then, passengers will have to wait to have their luggage scanned by security before entering the International Terminal, Mr Arkhom admitted.
Regarding the hours-long waits passengers have been forced to endure to clear immigration, Gen Arkhom said, “I have spoken with the Chief of the Immigration Bureau of Thailand, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, and 50 extra immigration officials will be posted at Phuket International Airport.”
However, he noted, “There are only 13 computers for immigration officers to use now.”
The good news, Mr Arkhom said, “The move to purchase more equipment and dedicate more manpower will start on Jan 23.”
The revelation that steps will be finally taken today to rectify the immigration queues, however, follows Immigration boss Gen Nathathorn staging a public visit to Phuket Airport last Tuesday to announce that all the notorious queues were “no more”. (See story here.)
Meanwhile, Gen Arkohm yesterday said he had ordered AoT to ensure all renovations to the Domestic Terminal currently underway to be completed by the end of this year.
“This is causing some inconvenience to passengers. So, I have ordered all work to be completed this year,” he said.
“I have also asked AoT to look into the possibility of creating another way for passengers access the Immigration area so that travellers will not have to join queues that extend outside the entire Immigration Arrivals Hall,” Gen Arkhom added.
During his inspection, Mr Arkhom also followed up on complaints of the bathrooms being dirty.
“This was because they were using the wrong bathroom cleaning liquid, which made the basins look dirty. They have resolved this problem already,” he said.