The scream of jets taking off from Don Mueang airport this week officially marked the end of Bangkok's single-airport policy and provided the capital with a long-overdue low-cost carrier terminal for all budget and charter flights. It was a move welcomed by airlines and those who have endured the long queues and delays at Suvarnabhumi airport as the congested terminal struggled to cope.
But not everyone was celebrating. Some passengers complained about short-staffing at immigration desks, a gripe that had a familiar ring to it, while others bemoaned the shortage of shuttle buses running between the two airports. These are problems that need to be addressed before they become accepted practice.
There have also been understandably fewer smiles on the faces of those living in close proximity to Don Mueang airport. Gone is the peace and relative tranquility that followed the move to Suvarnabhumi in 2006, although residents will be spared the sleep disturbances, stress and noise pollution because of an absence of regular night take-offs and landings. Regrettably such irritants will continue to plague those living in housing estates around the main airport and can only get worse when the scheduled airport expansion takes place and the first of two additional runways becomes operational by 2018.
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