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Monday, July 2, 2007

Upgrade Suvarnabhumi security: ICAO

After inspecting Bangkok's world-class Suvarnabhumi international airport for 10 days, officials of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have recommended that the security system at the airport opened last year to great fanfare should be upgraded.

Chaisak Angkasuwan, director-general of Thailand's Aviation Department, said ICAO officials arrived in Thailand on June 17 and inspected security systems at Suvarnabhumi airport as well as at other airports in Thailand.

The ICAO officials recommended that the security system provided at Suvarnabhumi airport is scattered and should be centralised. Airports of Thailand (AoT) officials must also be strict on checking identification cards of people entering or leaving the airport, according to Mr. Chaisak.

Also, ICAO officials proposed that officials of the Aviation Department be empowered to both close areas inside any airport and suspend flights which they consider might cause danger to passengers, he said.

They also advised that the status of the Aviation Department be upgraded to function as the 'Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand' as an independent agency to tackle the brain drain of the country's human resource pool which might otherwise be available, said Mr. Chaisak, adding that his department may hire the ICAO to conduct a feasibility study on restructuring the agency.

ICAO inspectors will report their findings to their headquarters in Montreal, Canada, within 20 days and will dispatch an official report to Thailand in the next 60 days. Thailand then has 90 days to submit questions, if any, on security system and must prepare plans to improve the system within 120 days thereafter.

ICAO and McGill University in Montreal will host a Worldwide Conference on Aviation Safety, Security and the Environment focusing on "The Way Forward" to be held in September. (TNA)

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