6 June 2024

Suvarnabhumi international airport conducted drills today (Wednesday) to test its readiness to cope with the arrival of foreign tourists on November 1st, when Thailand reopens its borders to arrivals by air.

The drill involved 150 people pretending to be tourists arriving from Germany, to establish how long it will take for each passenger to disembark, go through thermal sensors, process documentation, pass immigration and customs checks and leave the airport.

The airport’s Director Kittipong Kittikachorn said that the average time to complete the whole process should be about 25 minutes. The airport has also formulated guidelines for arriving passengers after their disembarkation.

First, passengers will be divided into those with a certificate of entry (COE) and those with the “Thailand Pass”. They will have a temperature check, with anyone over 37.3oC being separated for more health checks. The remaining passengers will go directly to the immigration checkpoints, baggage reclaim and customs checks before meeting officials in the arrival hall prior to heading for their hotels, which must have been booked in advance.

Kittipong assured the public that the airport is 100% ready, with 80 flights on due to land on Monday, the first being from Japan’s Narita airport, expected to land around midnight.

According to the Department of Consular Affairs, arriving passengers are divided into those from 46 low-risk departure points, who need not be quarantined if they are fully inoculated with recognised vaccines, have produced a negative COVID-19 test result within the 72 hours before departure and have US$ 50,000 of health insurance coverage.

After passing RT-PCR tests upon arrival, they can travel anywhere in Thailand, but must download and install a tracking app and pass antigen tests at the end of their first week in Thailand.

The second group are passengers from other countries entering the 17 “sandbox” provinces for a minimum of 7 days without being quarantined at their hotels. They will be required to take an initial RT-PCR test at their hotel and a second on the 7th day of their stay.

Those who do not meet the conditions set for the first two groups are required to isolate at their hotels for 10 days, during which they will undergo RT-PCR tests before being able to venture out.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Tanee Sangrat explained that “Thailand Pass” is a registration system, via the website tp.consular.go.th, for travel to Thailand which is intended to replace COEs on November 1stto reduce paperwork. He said, however, that tourists still need to apply for a visa and go through visa checks.

During the transition period, from COE to “Thailand Pass”, Thai embassies and consular offices abroad will continue to issue COEs via the website, coethailand.mfa.go.th, until November 1st.

COEs issued prior to November 1st are still valid and can be used without the need to apply for “Thailand Pass”, he added.