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AseanAffairs Magazine July - August 2010

New Philippines President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino wins in a landslide election and promises to end poverty and fight corruption.

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Q: How would you describe AOT’s progress since the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport? What are the main achievements?

 A:  Suvarnabhumi Airport, like any other new airports, went through some challenges during the opening, especially since the airport had installed all the latest technological advances of the aviation industry;

including ticketing baggage handling flightslot and contact gate management systems.

In the initial phase of the opening, there were certain issues with the operations of the systems, but with the efforts of all parties concerned (e.g. airlines and airport business partners), we managed to successfully solve all the system glitches and able to carry on operating effectively.

- There are also minor issues, regarding the customer services provided at the airport in the first few years since the opening. For example, additional CCTV were installed and the security checkpoint system was transformed into a Centralized Screening System, as recommended by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to enhance the security system and securedarea within the terminal.

- We have also been training our staff with a Human Resource Development programme, emphasizing on the importance of being “Service Minded” at all times. - Although there have been some minor setbacks along the way, we have been able to operate continuously and smoothly; with the exception of the closure of the airport towards the end of 2008, for a 10-day period, by the PAD, which was beyond our control.

- Furthermore, there has been constant growth in the airport’s business, with the current number of airlines operating at Suvarnabhumi Airport rising to 102, the average number of passengers per day of 130,000 – 140,000 and an average of 760 flights per day, for the period of January – March 2010.

- From all the efforts of everyone involved within the Suvarnabhumi Airport family, we have been awarded accolades over the last three years:

1. Ranked sixth best airport (in terms of service) in 2007 and moved up to fifth in 2008, in the airport with the ability of handling more than 40 million passengers per year by the Airports Council International.

2. Ranked 37th in 2008 and 16th in 2009 Best Airport category and third for the 2009 Best Food and Beverages Service by SKYTRAX. Also most recently, SKYTRAX has just announced its 2010 ranking for Best Airport, in which Suvarnabhumi Airport has improved to 10th place and for the very first time reached the top 10. We certainly aim to remain there and even improve to a higher position in the near future.

3. Ranked third Best Airport in 2008 by British magazine Wonderlust 4. Ranked third Best Airport in 2009 by online magazine

5. Since joining the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) program by ACI, the Airport ranked 41st in 2007, 28th in 2008, and 24th in 2009 for “Best Airport Worldwide” .


Q: Would you say that Suvarnabhumi Airport is among the most competitive airports in Asia in terms of turn around time and cost for global and regional airlines?

A:  - The government has a policy to support Suvarnabhumi Airport to achieve the goals of becoming an Asian aviation hub, in terms of logistic and passengers.

- The great geographical location of Thailand enables convenient connections to all continents and makes Suvarnabhumi Airport advantageous as a connecting hub for refueling long-haul flights.

- Also, Thailand is regarded as an “Origin- Destination” country; with a great number of tourist attractions and equipped for international commercial activities and foreign investment opportunities. Suvarnabhumi Airport is prepared, with a total

land area of 32 km squared, for future expansion, with the ultimate capacity (i.e. completion of all development plans) of 120 million annual passengers, to cater to

the expected increase in air traffic demands if necessary. The continuous expansion will allow Suvarnabhumi to remain competitive.


Q: What are the current challenges facing AOT and what are the implications of the prolonged standoff between the government and the protesters?

A:  - Suvarnabhumi Airport has joined the ASQ program, by ACI, with the aim of enhancing and developing services provided at the airport to become among the best in the world, in order to provide maximum customer/ passenger satisfaction. We believe that these factors and essential elements will help us realize our goals:

1. Suvarnabhumi Airport is a new airport with a vast amount of space available, with various facilities to ease and enhance the customer experience at the airport.

2. We use these criteria for assessment of the ASQ program as a guideline, like other leading airports such as Incheon, Changi, and Hong Kong. The six mainstrategies of our service development plan are:

• Security standards – e.g. changing the system to Centralized Screening.

• Management of service and facilities – changing of luggage trolleys, improve and increase number of toilets, new signage, renovate transfer passenger lounge. • Corporation with airlines and government agencies – arrangements for meetings and seminars.

• Commercial activities – meetings with business partners, increase varieties of retailers, products, facilities and entertainment. Commercial activities in the connecting areas (fl. B1) with the Airport Link Station.

• Service-minded – Airport English Club, AVIATION THAI AIRPORT NOW IS TENTH

July - August 2010 • Magazine 67 service training activities, Airport Ambassadors, friendliness of security staff. • Airport Atmosphere – using many languages in the airport signage, moving of the 12 Ramayanan Giant statues.

3. Suvarnabhumi Airport is known for the commercial facilities that it provides, particularly the restaurants and the duty-free shopping.

4. Airlines, government agencies, and business partners have fully cooperate to provide better service in order for us to become a world top-10 airport We have an Emergency Plan to counter various situations that may happen at Suvarnabhumi Airport, including plans to deal with disturbances from crowd gatherings, which complies with the Security Standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Our Security Department has been convening with related government agencies, namely the AOT, the Army and the Police forces, and agencies of Samut Prakan province to find appropriate solutions. The measures are:

Step 1: Suvarnabhumi Airport Security Department will implement security measures according to the Airport Security Plan and Emergency Situation Plan, for example: - Road blocks,

- Dispersion of security personnel to safeguard the Passenger Terminal, Control Tower, Airside Area, etc.

- Provide support to government agencies involved.

Step 2: When the situation becomes severe or violent, the local police will take charge and act according to its Security Plan and close all entrances and exits of the Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport’s Security Department will give full support as instructed by the police.

Step 3: When the situation becomes even more severe or violent, the Provincial Police Region 1 Bureau and relating state agencies of Samut Prakan Province will

take charge; in collaboration with government agencies related to National Security Affairs. The Security Department will give full support as instructed.


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