Airports and Airlines Should Optimize Response to Crowds, CAAT Says

Airlines and airports must make urgent adjustments to avoid long queues for flights after high congestion was reported at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) ordered.

On Friday, a passenger on a Thai Airways International (THAI) flight departing from Suvarnabhumi airport shared a video on social media showing a crowd forming a long queue to check in.

The user said some passengers had to wait more than three hours to board their planes and others even missed their flights.

The CAAT confirmed that the airport had experienced significant congestion but denied that passengers had missed their flights. The authority also stated that the situation had been resolved, and the queues had subsided by around 10:00 a.m. Friday.

THAI executives were at the airport trying to help ease congestion caused by increased numbers of travelers and long weekend travel, the CAAT added.

They reportedly admitted that a staffing shortage had caused long lines but pledged to increase their workforce to handle an increase in flights and passengers as the country reopens. The CAAT also admitted that many airlines suffer from staff shortages.

The authority said it had started talks with airlines and airport managers to provide better service to passengers. It also ordered the staff to serve people approaching departure times first and do everything necessary to avoid overcrowding.

Both parties must also prepare to receive more foreign arrivals and for an eventual return to pre-pandemic passenger figures now that Thailand has relaxed international travel restrictions.

In the meantime, airlines and airports must recalibrate their response plans to similar situations and properly inform travelers about the current circumstances, the CAAT stated.

The authority has also urged passengers to arrive at airports two to three hours before their flight to check in on time and avoid delays.

Thailand has seen an increase in domestic and international travel after lifting mandatory quarantine and other Covid-19 restrictions on foreign arrivals from June 1. Around 293,350 foreigners arrived in the country in April, accounting for a 39% increase from March, and the numbers are expected to continue growing over the coming weeks.