Minister threatens to replace THAI baggage handler after Suvarnabhumi delays
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has called an urgent meeting with Thai Airways International (THAI) and Worldwide Flight Services Bangkok Air Ground Handling Co Ltd (BFS Ground) over delays in luggage handling at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Saksayam visited the airport on Thursday in response to complaints that passenger services were suffering long delays at peak times as flight schedules return to normal after Covid-19.
Saksayam reported that congestion at passport control for arriving passengers had eased significantly.
It was now taking an average of 15 minutes for each passenger to pass through passport control, he said.
However, passengers were still waiting up to 1.5 hours for their luggage to arrive on the carousel, when the target should be 15 minutes, he added.
THAI and BFS Ground representatives told Saksayam that baggage handling was taking longer due to staff cuts amid rising operational costs. The cuts mean that a large passenger plane is now unloaded by only one ground service team instead of three teams as in the past.
Saksayam ordered the airline and baggage handler to come up with a plan to fix the problem within one month, or the ministry would find a new baggage handling firm.
“There are many operators out there who are capable of handling large volumes of luggage in time,” he said.
Saksayam also ordered the airport to deploy more staff at taxi ticket machines and waiting areas to prevent passenger crowding, as well as open more traffic lanes for taxis during rush hours. The aim is to reduce the taxi waiting time to 10 minutes per passenger.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is expected to welcome 130,000 passengers per day in December as the tourism season peaks, a rise of 13% from November’s 115,000 per day.