AOT to expand capacity at 6 airports amid tourism boom
By Nongnapas Maipanich, The Nation/Asia News NetworkBANGKOK - With the high season approaching, the government wants all relevant agencies to prepare for the high volume of tourists and the expected increase in congestion at the six airports currently supervised and regulated by Airports of Thailand, AOT President Sitha Thiwaree said.
September 9, 2013, 4:05 pm TWN
AOT plans to proceed with development work at the six airports simultaneously to ensure maximum convenience for passengers and airlines. The current situation of relative political calm is an optimum time to undertake various airport development work that will enhance AOT's service capacity, Sitha said.
Political instability tends to delay the launch and completion of large projects, such as Suvarnabhumi Airport, which by the time it was completed was already close to full capacity. From now on, proper planning is needed to ensure a project will be able to accommodate the rise in flights and traffic/passenger volume, he said. Sitha's policy is to expedite the second-phase expansion of Suvarnabhumi at a cost of 62.5 billion baht, due to be completed by 2016, able to accommodate 60 million passengers a year, up from the current 45 million.
Meanwhile, AOT will also proceed with the third- and fourth-phase expansion of Suvarnabhumi simultaneously as passenger volume is rising very fast.
The Don Mueang Airport expansion plan will comprise three phases, costing 10.7 billion baht, and will be able to accommodate 39 million passengers a year compared with the current 18.5 million.
As for Phuket Airport, AOT plans to expand aircraft parking pits from 15 to 21 and renovate the domestic/international passenger terminal, which the agency expects to complete by 2015. By then, Phuket Airport should be able to accommodate 12.5 million passengers, up from the current 6.5 million passengers a year.
In addition, AOT has plans to boost revenue from non-aviation-related activities via joint-venture investment with private entities to develop a commercial centre on 37 vacant land plots at Suvarnabhumi Airport. This project is in the feasibility-study stage and awaits consideration of the Treasury Department regarding the compensation fee rate, Sitha said.