NewsNational NewsAutomated Channels at Suvarnabhumi Airport Now Open to Foreign Travelers

Automated Channels at Suvarnabhumi Airport Now Open to Foreign Travelers

In a significant development aimed at enhancing outbound travel experiences, the Immigration Bureau (IB) has announced that as of December 15, foreigners can now access Suvarnabhumi International Airport’s automated channels. This decision aligns with a directive from the Prime Minister, enforced by Srettha Thavasin, to improve the outbound immigration system.

The move is strategically designed to alleviate congestion for outbound travelers, particularly during peak hours when the airport witnesses a surge in departing flights. This initiative supports the government’s broader tourism promotion policy, acknowledging the critical role streamlined immigration processes play in facilitating a smoother travel experience.

Lt. Police General Itthiphon Itthisanronnachai, Chief of the Immigration Bureau, disclosed that an automated channel system for departures at Suvarnabhumi Airport has been in operation since 2012, initially catering to Thai passport holders. However, starting December 15, the system will extend its services to accommodate foreign passport holders as well.

The automated channel system, comprising 16 machines, is known for its efficiency, taking approximately 20 seconds per person to complete the facial and fingerprint cross-checking process. In comparison, manual checking by officers averages about 45 seconds per person.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, a bustling hub handling between 50,000 and 60,000 outbound passengers daily, often faces congestion issues during peak hours. The streamlined immigration process aims to expedite the various steps passengers must go through, minimizing the risk of missed flights due to delays in check-in, security scanning, and immigration processes.

During a sub-committee meeting related to tourism at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Prime Minister Srettha had issued directives to address congestion concerns. Lt. Pol. Gen. Itthipol, in response to the Prime Minister’s concerns, convened a meeting in October with key stakeholders, including executives from Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited and the Immigration Check Technology Centre.

Following a feasibility study, it was confirmed that the automated channel system could be adapted to accommodate foreign passengers. The system’s operational readiness by December 15 was assured, contingent on foreign nationals using E-Passports meeting International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

Looking ahead, Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited plans to replace the existing 12-year-old system at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in July. Suvarnabhumi will see the installation of 80 machines for international departures, a significant increase from the current 16 machines, with 16 machines replacing those for international arrivals.

This modernization initiative extends to Don Mueang Airport as well, where eight machines will replace the current four for international departures and arrivals. Lt. Pol. Gen. Itthipol emphasized that despite automation, officers would still screen and check individuals entering the kingdom for national security during international arrivals.

In conclusion, this strategic move to open automated channels to foreign travelers at Suvarnabhumi Airport not only aims to enhance the efficiency of outbound immigration but also sets the stage for future improvements in the airport’s overall capacity and passenger experience during peak periods.

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