Don Mueang travelator incident leads to removal of airport director
The director of Don Mueang Airport is among 68 senior officers being transferred in the latest organisational restructuring of Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT), an informed news source said.
An AOT board meeting on Wednesday resolved to transfer 68 senior officers of levels 9 to 11 to different positions, effective August 1 and October 1. The reason for this restructuring is to improve the efficiency of AOT’s operations, the source added.
Among the senior officers affected are Karun Thanakuljeerapat, director of Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, who was ordered to serve as an advisor at AOT headquarters. He will be replaced by Wijit Kaesaithiam, who is currently the director of Chiang Mai International Airport.
Karun’s transfer came after AOT’s investigation of the accident at Don Mueang International Airport on the morning of June 29. A passenger had her left leg amputated after getting stuck in a moving walkway at the South Corridor Pier no. 4-5 of Domestic Terminal 2.
The source said the investigation found that the accident was caused by one of the travelator’s plates slipping off its frame due to missing screws. Investigators reportedly found three loose screws in the pit beneath the travelator.
The travelator was originally installed in 1987 and underwent a complete part upgrade in 2015 by the original manufacturer. It has five safety sensors but lacks one at the floor plates because it is an old model, said the source.
AOT director Kirati Kitmanawat reportedly said that the board has proposed the hiring of a third-party investigator to check the conditions and safety of all walkways and related equipment at Don Mueang Airport to restore passengers’ confidence. The investigators must be experts in escalators, elevators and travelators.
The airport will also install additional CCTV cameras at all walkways to monitor if there is any damage or missing parts, he added.
Finally, the airport will hire an external audit company to audit the maintenance of all mechanical equipment in the airport. The report will help identify any shortcomings in airport operations and will be used to improve its standard operation procedures in both normal and emergency situations.