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Suvarnabhumi overcrowding: Authorities act, deny “Fast Track” scandal is anything to do with them

The director of Bangkok’s main airport Suvarnabhumi has told the Thai press that the 2020 budget will be spent on arrival and departure areas to speed up and aid in convenience of travelers. 

While the chief of the AOC has denied that airport authorities are involved in the brewing “fast track” scandal. He said that is immigration’s problem. 

Last week Thai media suggested that the trading in overpriced and bogus Fast Track tickets may have led to the abrupt transfer of Lt Gen Surachate “Big Joke Hakparn, notes Thaivisa. 

Sutheerawat Suwannawat, director at Suvarnabhumi, said that record numbers were using the airport. In April there were 5.3 million passing through that represented a 1.56% increase on the same month last year.

Of these 988,000 were domestic travelers (2.68% up) and 4.34 million international (1.31% up). 

Top users of the airport were the Chinese followed by ASEAN nationals. 

The 2020 budget would see spending on 23 more immigration booths and changes to old infrastructure especially in terms of the Visa on Arrival area. 

This area that currently manages up to 400 people per hour will in the future be able to cope with 1,800 people per hour. It caters to Chinese people among other nationalities. 

Sutheerawat said that the Priority Lane, Premium Lane and Fast Track enabling faster and more convenient processing was a feature of all top international airports, Suvarnabhumi included. 

This aided in the processing of aircrew, first class passengers, the handicapped, the aged, VIPs and those with children. 

He said that the airport was not involved in the issuing of fast track tickets. 

He was clearly denying rumors that airport authorities were involved in the looming scandal.

Chief of the Airline Operators’ Committee Theera Buasri also commented on the fast track issue – a hot topic in Thailand at the moment after claims that someone was skimming off 4 million baht a month in the sale of overpriced tickets to use the priority lanes. 

The issue also involves fake tickets.

He said that in the 2018 high season 150,000 tickets were issued and 120,000 in the low season. (Thaivisa notes that it was not mentioned in the Daily News story if this was per month as previously reported).

He said that a survey of 91 airlines using the airport had indicated that only 30% wanted to use the priority lanes but when the tickets were printed the number increased to virtually all the airlines meaning there was not enough. 

This led to the problem of fake tickets and the sale of tickets priced at 18 baht for 35 baht. 

He said that this issue was nothing to do with the airport authorities and it was up to the Immigration Bureau to find those responsible. 

Lt-Gen Surachate was sacked from the police last month and given a civil service position in the PM’s office.

Daily News suggested that the fast track scandal may have had something to do with the sudden fall of the poster boy of the Royal Thai Police. 

No other reason has been forthcoming.

Thai Visa / Daily News

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