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Unexpected Adventure at Suvarnabhumi Airport: The 3-Hour APM Shutdown Saga

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Imagine this: you’ve packed your bags, brimming with excitement for the adventure that awaits. Your destination? The bustling, vibrant corridors of Suvarnabhumi Airport. But as fate would have it, not all journeys begin on a swift note. For a span of three whimsical hours, passengers found themselves partaking in an unexpected detour, all thanks to a hiccup in the Automated People Mover (APM) system that typically zips them between the grand main terminal and the illustrious Satellite Terminal 1. This, dear readers, is a tale of technology, teamwork, and the triumph of human spirit!

In this impromptu adventure, shuttle buses rose to the occasion, transforming into chariots that ferried travelers through the airport’s veins. It was a scene straight out of a modern odyssey, with passengers and pilots alike navigating this unforeseen twist in their airport narrative.

Despite the technological tempest, only four flights dared to tarry, each delayed by a mere half hour. Suvarnabhumi Airport’s valiant director, Kittipong Kittikachorn, addressed the masses, ensuring that not a soul was forsaken in this tale of unexpected detours.

The plot thickened when AOT president Kerati Kijmanawat took the stage, revealing the cause of our story’s conflict. It was 9:45 AM – a time most would spend dreaming of destinations unknown – when the APM’s lifeline, its main power supply, took an unscheduled siesta during a routine maintenance check. Alas, even the noble backup system faltered, leaving the APM stranded in a realm of silence.

But fear not! For heroes clad in overalls and armed with toolkits embarked on a quest to breathe life back into the APM’s steel steed. Their success, three hours later, was met with cheers, as normalcy was restored and the APM resumed its dutiful sprint between terminals.

In the aftermath of this epic saga, Kerati announced plans to parley with Arrow Engineering and Construction, the stewards of the APM’s maintenance, ensuring that this tale remains a unique chapter in Suvarnabhumi’s lore.

Since its inception in September of the previous year, the APM train has been a symbol of seamless transition, connecting the heart of Suvarnabhumi Airport with its innovative Satellite Terminal 1. On the day of the great adventure, three flights soared in, while seven ventured out into the skies, carrying a total of 2,422 wanderlust-filled passengers from SAT-1.

Kittipong, in a spectacle of resolve, mentioned how the airport’s ground service champions marshalled shuttle buses, ensuring passengers traversed the distance between SAT-1 and the main terminal with tales to tell.

Despite the brief pause in their journey, no backlog of passengers emerged from this tale. The airport, humble in its majestic stance, issued an apology, embracing the spirit of hospitality and promising continuous adventures in the skies.

And so concludes our story of technological trials, human perseverance, and the unbreakable spirit of travelers and staff at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Here’s to the unexpected detours that make our journeys all the more memorable.


  1. TravellerJoe February 23, 2024

    This sounds more like a fairy tale than a real incident at Suvarnabhumi Airport. I mean, calling shuttle buses ‘chariots’? Really? It was probably a nightmare for anyone rushing to catch a connecting flight!

    • OptimistKelly February 23, 2024

      I think it’s a wonderful display of resilience and improvisation. It’s not every day you see an airport turn a problem into an adventure. Kudos to the staff!

      • TravellerJoe February 23, 2024

        Resilience is fine, but what about efficiency? An airport’s first job is to ensure smooth transit for passengers, not to create ‘memorable’ detours.

      • AirportFan February 23, 2024

        I agree with Kelly. It shows the human side of airports, making the best out of an unexpected situation. Plus, only a small delay for four flights is impressive.

    • RushHourVictim February 23, 2024

      As someone who missed their flight because of this, I can’t share your enthusiasm. ‘Memorable’ isn’t the first word I’d use for the experience.

  2. TechWiz February 23, 2024

    It’s 2023, and we still can’t get backup systems to work properly? This incident screams a lack of maintenance and preparation. Time to reevaluate the tech, not just celebrate it.

    • LegacyLover February 23, 2024

      Not every technical failure is due to lack of maintenance. Systems fail, that’s a part of technology. What matters is how quickly and efficiently problems are solved.

    • RealistRaj February 23, 2024

      Efficiency in problem-solving? It took them three hours to fix the issue. That’s not what I’d call efficient, especially in a critical infrastructure like an airport.

  3. FrequentFlyer February 23, 2024

    I was there during the shutdown and honestly, it felt like a small adventure. The staff handled it well, and it was nice to see everyone come together in a crisis.

    • SkepticSam February 23, 2024

      Nice to see an actual passenger’s perspective. Were people really that calm and collected? I’d imagine there would be at least some frustration.

      • FrequentFlyer February 23, 2024

        Sure, there was a bit of confusion initially, but the airport staff were really helpful and did their best to keep everyone informed.

  4. AirportInsider February 23, 2024

    Internal communication was a nightmare. As staff, we were scrambling to get accurate information. This article paints a rosy picture, but it was chaotic behind the scenes.

    • CuriousCat February 23, 2024

      That’s usually the case, isn’t it? The public gets a sanitized version of what really happened. Thanks for sharing your side of the story.

  5. JetSetter February 23, 2024

    Occurred to me that if this happened at a less prepared airport, the situation could’ve been disastrous. While inconvenient, seems like Suvarnabhumi handled it as best as they could.

  6. HistoryBuff February 23, 2024

    Fascinating how the article frames this as part of the airport’s ‘lore’. I wonder what other ‘tales’ airports around the world could tell.

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