Thailand’s international airports are about to begin charging passengers flying in and out. The good news is that the charge will be minimal but the bad news, for airlines, is that carriers will have to collect it.
Airports of Thailand (AoT) says it will begin charging each air passenger THB 35 for flying in and out of its six international airports from 1 December 2015. The money will go towards an advanced passenger background check system, the Bangkok Post reports.
The main problem is speed of implementation. The THB 35 additional charge will be incorporated into the air ticket price. The Airline Operations Committee (AOC) protests that airlines are not yet ready for the change. How will the charge be levied on advance international flight tickets already sold?
AOC chairman Louise Moser Jr says it is all happening too fast. The AOC wants the charge deferred for three months, which would see it introduced at the start of March 2016, not December 2015.
The introduction of the Advance Passenger Processing System (APPS) at the six airports is expected to take about three months while testing will take a further month, AoT chairman Nitinai Sirismatthakarn told the paper.
The system will screen each passenger more carefully than is possible using the current system.
It will let customs officials, airport and airline staff and immigration police obtain passenger profiles from countries of origin. The authorities will be able to check if passengers are blacklisted or banned from leaving a country.
The aim is to let good guys, who pose no threat, through faster, while weeding out the bad guys.
Written by Peter Needham