Saturday, July 24, 2010

Better passenger facilities, efficiency will help Suvarnabhumi get to top: Incheon exec

Suvarnabhumi Airport can become of the world's best airports if it invests heavily on facilities and IT, an executive from Seoul's Incheon International Airport said.

Opened nine years ago, Incheon has been named one of the world's best airports for five consecutive years.

The airport's executive vice president, Younggeun Lee, said yesterday that this achievement was due to improved passenger amenities along with technology. He was in Bangkok to attend AOT's workshop "Stepping Forward to the Forefront through Sister Airport Agreement: Increasing Passenger Satisfaction".

He said Suvarnabhumi Airport could catch up by making passengers feel comfortable and all procedures convenient and easy. In addition, he said, the time spent at the immigration counter should be shortened and kept in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's recommendations.

Lee also advised AOT to invest more on passenger amenities such as free showers, free Internet, indoor garden, cable TV, rest area as well as shopping areas.

"Many European airports already offer these facilities," he said.

The Incheon International Airport Corporation has signed an agreement with AOT to help improve Suvarnabhumi's general services, operation, technical transfer, human resources and marketing to help it become one of the top airports.

"At Incheon, all 35,000 members of staff from 570 organisations work towards one goal - making our airport the best in the world," he said, adding that in order to do that, Suvarnabhumi needed feedback from both customers and staff.

"This will help us evaluate our service performance and maintain high levels," he explained.

AOT president, Serirat Prasutanond, said the company had announced its plan to enhance passenger satisfaction and service via airport development. This should make the airport competitive and also become a regional aviation hub, which will also help boost the country's economy.

Suvarnabhumi was ranked 10th in Skytrax's latest review of world airports.

According to Serirat, AOT aims to service 56 million to 57 million passengers at its six airports, namely Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Phuket and Chiang Rai.

The company has also maintained its revenue at Bt24 billion this year despite the recent political unrest.

Currently, 108,000 passengers go through Suvarnabhumi Airport per month - a number that is very close to the normal level. AOT hopes that the aviation business will recover within the third quarter of this year as tourists start returning to the country.

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