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Immigration Upgrades Automatic Channel For Departing Foreign Tourists

Immigration Upgrades Automatic Channel For Departing Foreign Tourists

Pol Lt Gen Itthipol Itthisarnronnachai, the Immigration Bureau commissioner, has confirmed that the expansion of the automatic departure service to include foreigners aligns with the directives set by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. During his departure in mid-November to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in the United States, Srettha observed the extensive queues of foreign tourists at immigration counters, patiently waiting for immigration officers to inspect their passports. Recognizing the need to enhance the efficiency of the process, Srettha urged the immigration chief to enhance the automatic passport checking system to encompass foreign visitors. This measure was deemed essential to stimulate tourism.

At Suvarnabhumi airport, there are presently 16 automated passport machines in operation. These machines have been utilized since 2012, exclusively catering to Thai nationals.

The efficiency of these machines is evident as they can swiftly verify a passport within a mere 20 seconds, in contrast to the 45 seconds it takes for an immigration officer to manually inspect it.

Considering the substantial number of passengers departing the kingdom via Suvarnabhumi, ranging from 50,000 to 60,000 daily, the immigration counters often experience lengthy queues. This situation is particularly pronounced during periods when approximately 20 flights are scheduled to depart within an hour.

Srettha voiced apprehensions regarding the extensive queues at the departure counters for immigration, which could potentially result in numerous passengers missing their flights. Consequently, Srettha urged the Immigration Bureau to expedite the departure process for foreign tourists.

In order to enhance the existing system, Itthipol convened a meeting with the Airports of Thailand Plc, Immigration Police Division 2, the immigration technology center, and a private firm.

Itthipol also mentioned that starting from Friday, the automatic system will undergo an upgrade to facilitate passport verification for foreign tourists.

Passengers who possess e-passports in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization can now access the open channels.

In comparison to the previous capacity of 5,000 passengers, the upgrade will enable approximately 12,000 passengers to depart from Suvarnabhumi airport per hour.

Furthermore, the AOT has announced its plans to replace the existing automatic passport checking machines at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports by July of next year. This replacement will be applicable for both arriving and departing passengers. Additionally, the number of automatic machines will be doubled from four to eight at each airport, catering to both entry and departure procedures.

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