Increased Security at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Thursday, 25 March 2010

On the 12 March 2010, we reported how tourists should take extra caution in Bangkok as there was no way of knowing what the results of the latest red shirt demonstrations may be. Tourists were advised to give more time to get to the airport, expect delays on the road and just take extra caution when moving around the city. Airlines moved their cabin crew from city hotels to Suvarnabhumi Airport hotels and opened check-in counters 3-4 hours early. Offices and even some shops and other outlets in certain areas around Bangkok were closed. Most, if not all, have since reopened.

The demonstrations of that weekend 12 - 14 March 2010 were pretty uneventful. Many Bangkok residents stayed away from the key areas, or left town to enjoy a nice weekend in the country, or by the beach. Travelling to the airport, once on the express way, was, if anything, easier, as the traffic seemed a lot lighter than normal.

When we visited Suvarnabhumi on 15 March 2010 to evaluate the situation first hand, there was not even a noticeable increase in security on the way into the airport. This however has since changed. With the demonstrations ongoing, and red shirt leaders promising another large demonstration this coming weekend, security at Suvarnabhumi has been dramatically increased, with a mixture of police and military check points at each major gateway into the International Airport. Along the main elevated route into the airport, water cannon and a few military vehicles are parked by the side of the road, barricades have been prepared, and the personnel manning the checkpoints have been issued with riot shields.

It is of course possible that nothing will come of this weekend's demonstrations, and the red shirts will keep their promise of staying away from the airports, but the current government are obviously not taking any chances. It was in 2008 that the yellow shirts closed the airports of Phuket, Krabi and Hat Yai before moving their attention to Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok with disastrous results for Thailand's image and tourist industry.

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