Airport shippers hit by computer failure
With airline passengers suffering hours-long luggage delays for the first two days, it was the turn of shipping companies to encounter problems on the third day of Suvarnabhumi Airport's full-scale operations yesterday.
A failure of the computer systems meant that shippers were unable to take their cargo out of the airport.
Sathit Limpongphan, director-general of the Customs Department, said the computer system that linked the department with BFS, the company which holds the concession to operate the cargo terminal at the new airport, had failed yesterday morning, meaning that no cargo stored inside the terminal could be unloaded.
Sathit said the collapse of the system had been caused by BFS, not his department.
As a result, Customs officials had to check all cargo manually and hand-write documents in order to unload the goods.
However, more than 300 cargo boxes were left at the terminal, which is in the tax-free zone.
Suchart Suksan, the director of the Customs division at the airport, said the problems had arisen because BFS staff did not have experience in managing a cargo terminal.
However, Somchai Swasdipol, the airport's director, said BFS was a professional operator in the cargo-management business.
Despite the new airport being flooded with complaints from disgruntled international passengers, executives said yesterday they were satisfied with operations, which, they said, were 98 per cent successful.
Air Chief Marshall Chalit Pukphasuk, the deputy chief of the Council for Democratic Reform, who is overseeing the airport, said the problems accounted for only 2 per cent of operations.
"I am very impressed. Major problems were solved, and only small problems remain. If we can resolve the other 2 per cent it will be perfect," he said.
Chalit said that as long as no major problems arose the airport would receive certification from the Civil Aviation Department in November of having reached the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.