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New Bangkok Airport News

Smiths Detection lands $10M security contract for new Bangkok airport

Smiths Detection, a provider of integrated intelligent security systems based in Newport, R.I., has been awarded a contract worth more than $10 million to supply a comprehensive integrated security system for Thai Airways at Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The contract calls for Smiths Detection to supply, install and integrate X-ray screening equipment, network infrastructure, intelligent Closed Caption TV systems, access control, and intrusion detection systems.

According to company officials, this is the first international contract of its type for Smiths Detection. The company's LiveWave business unit will integrate the security hardware via its FirstView systems management software to create a secure network and master control facility that connects all physical security equipment on the site.

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Airport lounges behind schedule

The rush to open Suvarnabhumi Airport on September 28 has taken its toll on premium passengers who have very limited access to a handful of lounges that were opened just in time but are not fully functional.

Only the lounges belonging to Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Cathay Pacific and China Airlines came on stream in the departure area.

Two other lounges, for first- and business-class passengers, operated by privately owned Master Mind by Louis Tavern are also open, albeit not fully.

Although the basic amenities, including furniture, and food and beverages, are in place at the opened lounges, facilities such as wireless Internet, telephone and fax are not available. The hardware is installed but not yet operating.

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Changes made at Suvarnabhumi Airport to improve service

Ministry of Transport Permanent Secretary Wanchai Sarathulthat yesterday stressed that Suvarnabhumi Airport will run as smoothly as Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang) within two months.

“By November, the staff will be accustomed to the new facility. Working at as much as 80 percent of its maximum capacity, the new airport will be as reliable as Don Muang,” said Wanchai after chairing a meeting among airport agencies to discuss problems during Suvarnabhumi’s first few days of full operations.

To assess Suvarnabhumi’s efficiency, Wanchai followed passengers who were making their way through the arrival hall. He observed passengers being inconvenienced by a duty free shop that blocked access to the customs and immigration booths.

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Customs service at Suvarnabhumi Airport a success

Customs Department officials are satisfied with the overall performance of Suvarnabhumi Airport on its first two days of full operations, despite minor issues in cargo handling.

“There were no problems with passenger service, but some import-export entrepreneurs were inconvenienced when denied access to certain areas under the authority of multiple agencies. The overlap was caused by a lack of communication,” said Sathit Limpongpan, the director-general of the department.

“It was not serious, though. The department will hold a talk among the agencies involved as soon as possible and everything will be completely resolved.”

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Speedy airport expansion seen as essential

Suvarnabhumi Airport may need to be expanded more quickly than planned to provide the room needed to accommodate fast-growing air traffic, international aviation experts say. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Cepa) say the new airport's annual capacity of 45 million passengers will be reached quickly.

They point out that Don Muang airport, which closed Wednesday night, handled around 39 million passengers - almost 10 million beyond its designed capacity - last year. Don Muang handled 21.3 million passengers in the first half of this year alone, up 15.4% year-on-year.

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Police to introduce fingerprint scanning at Suvarnabhumi

The Immigration Bureau plans to install fingerprint identification equipment at Suvarnabhumi Airport within the next two months.

The new equipment is part of a global trend among international airports to utilise biometric scanning technology for security and efficiency purposes.

"Immigration procedures at Suvarnabhumi are very fast. It takes only 20 seconds for the average passenger. It will be even faster when we finish installing the fingerprint identification units," said Police Lieutenant General Suwat Tumrongsriskul, Immigration Bureau Commissioner, who inspected the new airport Thursday during its first day of full commercial service.

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Countdown for airport opening

The next 24 hours will require the activation of multiple supply chains and mobilisation of huge logistics resources to manage the change-over between old and new airports. Already, convoys of large transport vehicles are relocating old ground handling equipment from Don Muang airport in readiness for immediate use or refurbishment.

There is a marked difference between the new facilities and pristine equipment specially purchased for the new facility compared to the older equipment. Disposal and reverse-logistics programmes will need to be put in place for equipment not required.

Final fit-out of offices and working locations is being undertaken in readiness for the new airport operators. These include airline representatives, cargo handlers, ground-support agents, customs, immigration, security, fire services, freight forwarders, catering, air-traffic control, airport authorities, fuelling services and transport providers.

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Thai officials stage purification ritual for Suvarnabhumi airport

Buddhist monks apologized to the spirits and asked them to ward off all bad luck in preparations yesterday for the opening of Bangkok's new international airport next week.

Despite more than 40 years of planning, a welter of corruption scandals and most recently a military coup, officials confirmed that Suvarnabhumi International Airport would be ready for full domestic and international service on Thursday.

Just to be sure, 99 monks and Brahmin priests were called in to perform a ceremony at the new facility 32km east of Bangkok.

Chotisak Aspaviriya, head of the Airports Authority of Thailand, said the ceremony was staged to apologize to the spirits of the land for any offenses committed during the construction of the airport, along with the spirits of animals who died on what was once swampland infested with snakes and other creatures.

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Suvarnabhumi airport will open on schedule

The Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) confirmed that Suvarnabhumi Airport will open early on Thursday, as scheduled before last week's coup. However, there will be no opening ceremony.

"We are just moving from Bangkok International Airport to Suvarnabhumi. No one is going to chair a ceremony on Thursday," said Airports of Thailand (AOT) Plc president Chotisak Asapaviriya yesterday.

He said the opening ceremony for the new airport would take place only when royal approval was given.

Chotisak was speaking after he, Transport Ministry Permanent Secretary Wanchai Sarathulthat, Suvarnabhumi Airport director Somchai Sawasdipol, and Thai Airways International (THAI) president Apinan Sumanaseni met with the CDRM to report on the progress of Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is located just east of Bangkok.

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Thai Airways starts using Suvarnabhumi for some international flights one week early

Thai Airways said it will start using Bangkok's new airport for three international flights from today, a week ahead of its official opening.

The flag carrier will operate night flights to Seoul, and Beijing and Guangzhou in what will be test runs for the new airport, which is set to open for full commercial use on Thursday (Sept 28).

Suvarnabhumi airport, which name means 'golden land' in Thai, has been in the works for 40 years but suffered repeated delays due to construction problems and allegations of graft.

The new airport, with an initial capacity to serve 45 mln passengers a year, will replace the overburdened Don Muang, which currently handles about 37 mln passengers, 2 mln over its official capacity.

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