(August 19 at 2pm) – Immigration Bureau began the service of Auto Gate – the eight automatic immigration lanes, for foreigners at Suvarnabhumi Airport but this only serves Singaporean passengers as a start.
The bureau will later collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider allowing passengers from other countries to use the service mostly based on the nation’s defense criteria.
Immigration Bureau commissioner Nathathorn Prousoontorn said the bureau had consulted with the Department of Consular Affairs under Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thongchai Chasawath, Ambassador of Thailand to Singapore and Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Commissioner Clarence Yeo on how to enable the Singaporean passport holders to benefit from the convenience of the automatic lanes.
The Auto Gate is part of Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha’s “THAILAND 4.0” policy and Defense Policy of Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Defense Gen. Pravit Wongsuwan which aim to use innovations to increase efficiency of the country’s economic growth. It also aims to solve airports’ congestion and wait time caused by physical limitations (both the passenger service area and number of counters).
The system focuses on providing convenient and fast services, and reducing the number of passengers that must rely on staffs. It is the technology hoped to significantly solve passenger density problem in the airports.
The automated passport control (APC) system has been in service for over 20 million Thai nationals since 2012 before being evaluated and made available to foreigners on this day, said Immigration Bureau Commissioner Nathathorn.
Initially the automated gates will be used at Suvarnabhumi and only for Singaporeans according to the reciprocal agreement in exchange for Singapore enabling Thai passport holders to use Singapore’s Auto Gate as well.
The system will collect passengers’ information, photographs, and fingerprints to verify their identity in the next trip and will work in conjunction with the Advance Passenger Processing System (APPS) that will verify the passengers as soon as they check in at the airlines with this resulting in a higher security, better reliability and better defense practices.
The success of the system will enable the bureau to consider using the system at other airports including Don Mueang, U-tapao and Phuket and to consider opening the service to visitors from other nations with high potential. For example, Hong Kong may become the second group of foreigners allowed to use the system, said Mr Nathathorn.
Top: The Auto Gate at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Photo: PPTV
By Piboon Awasdaruharote