Thailand’s key economic stimulus, tourism, is likely to see a boost during this holiday season as the Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) said the number of tourists could see a rise by more than 170% year-on-year.
AOT said it expects to see as many as 2 million passengers using its services at its 6 airports during this New Year break.
The 2 million passengers (domestic & international), AOT said, would be a 171.28% increase from the same period last year and AOT will see 12,190 flights or an increase of 87.01%, as people start to travel more amid lesser fear of Covid-19.
Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, president of 1 trillion Baht market capitalized AOT, said that the 6 airports that it manages would see 2 million passengers between December 29 and January 4.
He said that out of the 2 million passengers, 1 million are expected to be foreigners which would be an 832.51% rise year-on-year after Thailand opened its doors to foreign tourists in July 2021.
Domestic passengers would account for about 1 million which would be a 57.05% rise from the same period last year.
Nitinai added that out of the total 12,190 flights which is an increase of 87.01%, international flights would account for 5,340 of the 12,190 flights, representing a 260.53% rise year-on-year, while domestic flights would be 6,850 flights or a 35.98% rise year-on-year.
In preparation for the surge in passenger arrivals, AOT has prepared to support the travel of people through all 6 airports by continuing to comply with measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and offer services in the New Normal era, he said.
As part of the move to facilitate the passengers, he said that technologies and innovations that have been developed will help facilitate the passengers.
Nitinai said as a way to provide passengers with the utmost convenience, AOT had introduced the SAWASDEE application whereby passengers can check real-time information and flight status, along with a notification system when it’s time to travel.
Passengers can also check luggage status, reserve parking, book a taxi, and search for public transportation information. They could also file complaints and criticism of the service.
The application also provides information on Queue time, to help plan travel easier. Passengers can check congestion and duration in the check-in area, and the immigration area through the application.
In addition, during the period when there are many passengers using the airport services, the application will warn of long queues at service counters, so passengers would be advised to use kiosks for check-in and baggage drop-off. AOT has installed Kiosk machines in various areas.
Within the passenger terminal, staffs are available to give advice and facilitate use.
For other preparations, AOT has joined with relevant agencies to streamline the operational lines to facilitate and maintain security during the New Year festival, including the establishment of a coordination center, or airport security joint center.
Passengers who use the service at Suvarnabhumi Airport, especially during peak times would be able to seek help from staff at Suvarnabhumi Airport who are available 24 hours a day, as well as coordinating relevant agencies in arranging taxis and public transportation to provide additional services if there is a large demand for services.
Passengers are also advised to be a little more cautious when traveling because the carrying of liquids and other items that are not allowed should be avoided in order to help move the lines faster.
Nitinai said that those carrying power banks should also be aware that there are restrictions on the capacity of the power banks that can be carried onboard the aircrafts.
He added that to avoid missing the flights and due to the surge in passenger numbers, tourists are advised to come at least 2-3 hours before the flight.
In November, the state-owned AOT said they expect the number of passengers at all 6 of their airports to increase to 96 million in the 2022-2023 fiscal year from 46 million it had recorded during the past fiscal year.
AOT’s fiscal year starts on October 1st of each year.
The figure of 96 million passengers would account for 2/3 of the number of passengers prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
They also expect the number of passengers to return to the pre-Covid level of 142 million by the 2023-2024 fiscal year which would be around 400,000 per day.
The rising passenger traffic helped AOT report a profit of 1.7 billion Baht during the fiscal year ending October 2022 from a loss of 2.7 billion Baht seen in 2021 and a profit of 26 billion Baht in fiscal 2018-2019.