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Pm Yingluck Orders All Budget Airlines To Fly From Don Mueang Airport

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AIR TRAFFIC

Budget air to fly from Don Mueang

Watcharapong Thongrung

Bamrung Amnartchareonrit

The Nation

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Govt decision prompted by mounting chaos and congestion at Suvarnabhumi

BANGKOK: -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered that all low-cost airlines move to Don Mueang Airport to improve air and runway traffic at Suvarnabhumi, but the plan is unlikely to ease the current turmoil frustrating countless travellers.

The shift of low-cost carriers to Don Mueang was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa yesterday in response to a growing outcry from departing Suvarnabhumi passengers, many of whom have missed flights or suffered close calls.

People familiar with the problem doubt whether the long-planned move of low-cost services to Don Mueang will ease the current crisis at Suvarnabhumi, where renovation work has cut the capacity of immigration checkpoints by two-thirds.

Officials contacted by The Nation yesterday could not say for certain when the renovation work would be completed.

Chumpol admitted that the current problem of passenger congestion stemmed from the fact that only one of Suvarnabhumi's three immigration gates was operating.

International passengers are now being advised to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight leaves, rather than the standard two hours.

Chumpol said news of the passenger bottleneck only reached him on Wednesday. He said he could not get involved with the problem but gave assurances that the transfer of low-cost airlines to Don Mueang Airport would help reduce the congestion.

He is now working with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourist Police, and Airports of Thailand (AOT) to help increase personnel by 30 to 40.

Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said yesterday that in the short term, the ministry would increase officers at the Suvarnabhumi's immigration areas to help relieve congestion in the short term. AOT, as the airport operator, has been assigned the task. In addition, the ministry is coordinating with police to help out.

In the long term, he said the airport would deploy technologies such as an e-passport system that consumes less time, especially with Thai passengers. This would also resolve the problem of congestion at the airport during rush hours. Currently, Suvarnabhumi has annual traffic of 48 million passengers, in excess of its capacity of 45 million.

An Immigration Police source said increasing checkpoint staff was not the answer. "All checkpoints are being manned to full capacity. The problem is not shortage of personnel," the source said.

A source at the Transport Ministry said the government planned to move all domestic and international flights serviced by low-cost airlines to Don Mueang Airport in a bid to resolve congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport in the long run.

"It's believed that the government must encourage low-cost airlines with incentives to move their services to Don Mueang Airport," said the source, adding that AirAsia alone had 82-90 flights daily.

Apart from AirAsia, major low-cost airlines using Suvarnabhumi Airport are Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai.

Somchai Sawasdipol, acting director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, said he had coordinated with immigration officials to solve the problem of long queues and would pay overtime to officials of Bt100,000 per day as incentive.

Of total immigration counters, 124 are for inbound passengers and 80 are for the outbound.

Maiyarat Pheerayakoses, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said she had no problem with the government move to shift all low-cost flights to Don Mueang Airport. However, the government should do it very carefully, especially in cases of passengers with connecting flights.

As a long-term solution, she said she did not mind having two airports in Bangkok. It is common in other nations to have separate domestic and international airports. However, transport connection between the two must be developed well to make it convenient for passengers.

The new phase of construction development at Suvarnabhumi should proceed quickly so as to be ready to serve the growing number of passengers after the implementation of the Asean Economic Community in 2015, she said.

Speaking of the current congestion, she said the problem was due to mismanagement by the Immigration Bureau at the airport. She urged the agency to tackle the problem quickly by increasing the number of officers working at the airport.

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-- The Nation 2012-03-16

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That's all not the problem,if I travel to other countries like UAE,Malaysia,Singapore or back to Europe,the passport control takes 1-2minutes per person,sometimes less than that,here in Thailand it takes 3-5 min.i think Thai immigration officers are afraid to make a mistake,or maybe their computer is outdated

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Makes you think that the Thai government may be favouring its national carrier especially if it is classing Bangkok Airways as a low-cost carrier. This would virtually ensure that the only airline from Thailand's regional airports to Transcontinental International flights would be Thai air.

Perhaps this is linked to the future as as a part of ASEAN

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If they could mann all the counters, I`m sure it would help.

I cannot understand how in the lords name they could close down two of the gates for renovation works at the same time. It has to be a drunk mans decision.

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Are there any rail links planned between the two airports?

Exactly what is needed, but would not be cost effective to build.

Express bus service with priority on the roads.

Flite connections need to be easy and fast.

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Are there any rail links planned between the two airports?

Exactly what is needed, but would not be cost effective to build.

Express bus service with priority on the roads.

Flite connections need to be easy and fast.

The Airport express going to Phaya Thai is being extended to go north to Don Meaung.

"Express bus service with priority on the roads" :cheesy:

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I think Espinoza hit it ...

There are 3 immigration , if they had only closed one at a time for renovations ... Then no problem

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Quoting the opening post:

"People familiar with the problem doubt whether the long-planned move of low-cost services to Don Mueang will ease the current crisis at Suvarnabhumi, where renovation work has cut the capacity of immigration checkpoints by two-thirds."

Was it really technically impossible to start and finish this renovation during the low tourism season?

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Also when I was at airport earlier this month, many of the lines only had 1 immigration officer rather than 2

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That's all not the problem,if I travel to other countries like UAE,Malaysia,Singapore or back to Europe,the passport control takes 1-2minutes per person,sometimes less than that,here in Thailand it takes 3-5 min.i think Thai immigration officers are afraid to make a mistake,or maybe their computer is outdated

Never flown into a major airport in the US, have you? I waited for at least 15 minutes in the US citizens queue at San Francisco recently

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Explain to me how Thai Immigration has control over a 747 load of Chinese tourist arriving and none read or write Thai or English, good luck having your arrival card filled out and ready when you step in front of the officer. No matter how much the, all things Thai or wrong brigade complains there are just a few things that are beyond the control of immigration.

Ohh really.. beyond their control is it? They don't have Chinese fonts in their computers? Can't add some Chinese cards to the mix? After all, they are catering to the Chinese tourists right? Even in Pattaya they have enough sense to put up signs in Chinese to attract them as visitors.

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Is it just me or, will they just divert the problem to DM? Does DM have enough immigration officers to handle air asia's load alone?

And yeah...until there's a rail link between the two, this simply won't work. Buses will never make connections in time...there is no such thing as "priority" on the highways in Thailand. Hell, a firetruck with lights and sirens can't get through. If I am flying into swampy from Chiang Mai and then have an International flight out, I can only imagine the hell trying to get from one to the other. I'd have to plan to spend the night realistically. Maybe that's the plan!? Make people stay a night in BKK to help with tourist dollars ;). Hmmmm...ok, guess I'll fly direct to Malaysia :P.

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BANGKOK 22 July 2017 03:36
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