Airport authority announces plan to keep weekend immigration hell from being repeated

Photo: MicheSO6/Twitter
Photo: MicheSO6/Twitter

After a much-publicized immigration debacle at Don Mueang International Airport that saw tourists waiting four hours on Friday night, Thai airport officials are speaking out about the issue and how they plan to resolve it.

Though the airport blamed a few late flights and being understaffed for the shocking queues, these issues are hardly new to Bangkok’s smaller, older airport which has been called “a shithole” and “the pit of hell” by reviewers.

This past weekend people in line suffered from dehydration, trouble breathing in the overstuffed area, and one woman required medical attention.  As a result, several new one-star reviews and angry comments were added to the already pathetic reputation of the place, reported Bangkok Post.

Photo: e-Spurs Thailand/Twitter

The Airports of Thailand (AOT) authority stated that they will hurry along plans to expand the immigration counters at Don Mueang by eight next month.

READ: Gates of Hell: Staff shortage causes four-hour queue at Don Mueang immigration

AOT president Nitinai Sirisamatthakarn said the construction to add the eight counters should happen in September and that, once functional, will increase the department’s number of passengers served per hour from 1,000 to 1,800.

They also say they are already training 48 more officers to work in immigration at the airport.

Don Mueang is an older, smaller airport that was designed to only serve domestic flights. However, as Thai tourism has skyrocketed, especially among arrivals from nearby countries, many of these short-haul flights have been routed to the little, two-terminal airport to save room at the larger Suvarnabhumi for larger, long-haul flights.

AOT hopes to renovate the airport by 2020, to make it more in line with an international airport.

Apparently, Don Mueang was expected to receive as many as 39 million visitors annually, but in 2017, it has already seen 31 million pass through its grubby halls.

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