Chinese New Year prompts busy day at Suvarnabhumi

Chinese New Year prompts busy day at Suvarnabhumi

More than 200,000 passengers are set to pass through Suvarnabhumi airport today, according to Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) reports, with many set to return from their annual Chinese New Year holidays.

Immigration police have warned travellers to arrive at Suvarnabhumi at least three hours before departure to avoid missing flights, said Pol Maj Gen Pruettipong Prayoonsiri, director of Immigration Police Division 2.

“We are sure that every step, from checking in to passport control, and eventually walking to the gate to board the planes, will take a longer than usual,” he said.

He added those using Don Mueang and Phuket airports should take similar precautions.

This year’s Chinese New Year festivities in Thailand began on Wednesday, while Friday was considered New Year’s Eve.

Pol Maj Gen Pruettipong said safety precautions at the airport have also been heightened until next Sunday.

He also instructed immigration officers to take no more than 45 seconds to process each passenger.

Out of the 200,000 passengers estimated to be passing through Suvarnabhumi today, around 160,000 are expected to be flying internationally.

Swiss national Heinz Bugmann, who arrived at Suvarnabhumi yesterday, was standing in front of the international arrivals zone at the airport.

The 37-year-old art director said he had been waiting for his wife, who travelled to Bangkok on a different flight, for hours.

“She sent me photos of people waiting in a long line leading to her flight’s luggage retrieval area,” he said. “It has been over an hour and a half since she landed.”

“[Suvarnabhumi] is one of the busiest airports in the world, so instances like these are something we have to deal with,” he said. “If we had to be somewhere in a hurry, however, it would have definitely been a problem.”