Airports of Thailand (AOT) has taken swift action in response to a recent incident involving a moving walkway at one of its airports. The incident, which resulted in a severe leg injury to a passenger, has prompted the establishment of a committee to conduct a thorough investigation. Comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Transport, the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT), the Engineers Council, Siam Hitachi Company, and the victim’s family members, the committee has been given a 15-day timeframe to complete its investigation.
The unfortunate incident occurred on June 29 when the passenger fell on a travelator at the airport, sustaining a serious leg injury. AOT Director Kerati Kijmanawat has announced that the committee’s primary objective is to assess the incident and explore measures to prevent similar accidents in the future. As part of this effort, the committee will evaluate the feasibility of replacing moving walkways that are over 20 to 25 years old at all six AOT airports, namely Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, and Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai.
In the aftermath of the incident, AOT has temporarily suspended all 20 moving walkways at Don Mueang Airport. The walkways will undergo a comprehensive inspection and necessary upgrades before gradually resuming operation, a process that is estimated to take approximately one month. Director Kerati acknowledged that some of the travelators in use are over 27 years old and stated that while regular maintenance had been carried out, the committee will consider replacing walkways older than 15-20 years. Additionally, they will explore the adoption of new technologies, including sensors, to enhance safety measures throughout the airports.
Parallel to the investigation by the AOT committee, local authorities are actively conducting their own inquiries into the incident. The superintendent of the Don Mueang police, Pol Col Adirek Tongkeamkeaw, reported that individuals involved in the case are currently being questioned, and forensic test results are awaited. The airport’s CCTV footage is also under review to determine if negligence played a role in the accident.
With the establishment of the committee and the ongoing investigations, AOT is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers within its airport facilities. The findings and recommendations from the investigation will contribute to improved safety measures and potentially pave the way for the implementation of updated technologies in the future.