[ Thailand ] Krabi, Udon Thani and Surat Thani airports to get B13bn update

29 November 2017

The Department of Airports (DOA) will spend 13 billion baht on new baggage-screening and automated check-in systems at Krabi, Udon Thani and Surat Thani airports, said DOA director-general Darun Sangchai.

The three registered international airports will be used as models for future renovation and expansion plans for all those managed by the DOA, he said Monday.

The department oversees 28 airports nationwide, with the 29th in Betong, Yala province set to open by 2020. The three international airports suffer from overcrowding and their facilities warrant an upgrade, officials say.

In 2016, the Krabi gateway serviced over 4 million passengers, double that of the other two.

Mr Darun said the first part of the project will see new conveyor-belt systems and explosive detection systems (EDS) introduced by 2019 at a cost of 8.8 billion baht. Common-use check-in-systems will form the second part, enabling all kiosks to accept passengers from any airline, he said. The cost would be 4.2 billion baht.

The airport in Krabi has already been equipped with common-use systems but the other two are still in talks with private companies, he added.

Mr Darun said the department will rely on outsourced services to private companies to service the kiosks on five-year contracts. The DOA is also in talks with the government about procuring automatic passport-screening systems to ease passenger congestion.

Meanwhile, plans to have the airports in Tak and Udon Thani managed by Airports of Thailand PCL (AOT) are still afoot, Mr Darun said.

He said the company was a good fit as both are in need of facility upgrades, especially their passenger terminals and planned runway expansions. He put the upgrade costs at 5 million baht for Tak and 3 million baht for Udon Thani.

The AOT operates six Thai airports including the two Bangkok gateways, Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport.

In other news, several private companies have shown interest in investing in smaller airports in Lampang, Phetchabun, Nakhon Ratchasima and Chumphon.

"Other than servicing several tourist destinations, they still have several rai of free space open for investment," he said. "That could be used by private companies as maintenance centres."

The DOA will also update its official airport colour scheme as part of a rebranding campaign, it said.

Instead of the current preference for shades of blue and yellow, new uniforms will use brighter colours to create a more "friendly environment" for passengers, officials said.
The changes will see around 1,600 airport staff sporting new light-khaki short-sleeve shirts and vibrant blue neckties for men, or scarves for women.

The changes are due to be made in the next three months, officials said.
Medals and badges will disappear from uniforms as it exudes a "non-welcoming" image and may have "bad connotations", Mr Darun said.

"We will also be conducting workshops for our staff during this period, to provide a more pleasant service for passengers," he added.

Thai airports have come under increasing pressure to handle a growing influx of foreign tourists and other travellers in recent months after disgruntled posts on social media have highlighted the long delays passengers face.

The government vowed to add more immigration counters at airports in Bangkok and elsewhere, among other measures including hiring more staff.
Phuket airport's domestic terminal also sees its first-phase upgrade open today.

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Credit: Bangkok Post
Credit link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/1367991/krabi-2-more-airports-to-get-b13bn-update

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