Airport rail baggage check risks axe

The airline check-in service at Makkasan Airport Rail Link (ARL) station is at risk of being suspended due to low demand and high operating costs.

State Railway of Thailand Electric Train (SRTET) board chairman Chamroon Tangpaisalkit said yesterday only a small number of passengers were using the service, which allows bags to be checked on to flights directly from the rail link station.

Mr Chamroon said about 200 items of luggage were passing through the system each month. But he stressed that any decision to cancel the service must be ordered by those in charge of the policy. The State Railway of Thailand runs the ARL.

He was responding to a message posted on former deputy Bangkok governor Samart Ratchapollasit's Facebook Page, which claimed the SRT was paying 5.27 million baht every month to operate the Makkasan check-in system, despite it serving only 10 customers on average each day.

Mr Chamroon said the SRTET board had earlier reviewed the airline check-in service at Makkasan station, but no conclusion on its future had been reached.

There are maintenance costs incurred for the luggage conveyor belt system and the electronic check-in operation, he said.

He said Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) will be consulted on ways to encourage more passengers to check in at Makkasan station to reduce congestion at Suvarnabhumi airport counters.

SRT caretaker governor Prasert Attanan insisted the Makkasan check-in service should remain in place for public convenience.

He said instead of scrapping the system, measures should be devised to attract more people to use it.

According to an SRT source, the agency's executives had earlier proposed the service be scrapped, arguing it was unpopular and not worth keeping.

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