Don Mueang to the rescue

All of a sudden, Bangkok’s second airport is taking on greater importance as Suvarnabhumi struggles to cope with increased passenger traffic.

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People wait in long queues at the check-in counters inside crowded Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday. The government plans to move low-cost, chartered and non-connecting flights to the old Don Mueang airport to ease congestion. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

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Single-airport policy ends

Don Mueang to be used for more budget flights

Amornrat Mahitthirook 
Boonsong Kositchotethana

The government will scrap its single-airport policy and encourage low-cost carriers to shift to Don Mueang airport to help ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan yesterday said expanding Suvarnabhumi would take at least five years. In the meantime, Don Mueang could easily handle more than 16 million passengers a year, helping relieve pressure at Suvarnabhumi.

"Don Mueang airport will continue for the near future. It's clear that the single-airport policy isn't practical due to the problems of congestion," Mr Jarupong said.

"I don't want to say we are adopting a dual-airport policy. But for the long term, we must put Don Mueang to use." Don Mueang, officially opened for commercial service in 1924, was replaced as Bangkok's main international airport in 2006 with the opening of Suvarnabhumi.

Don Mueang reopened for commercial services this month after being shut for four months due to last year's floods.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has said incentives should be offered to encourage low-cost airlines to shift to Don Mueang.

Mr Jarupong, quoting the prime minister, said seven to nine low-cost and chartered airlines could ultimately move to the older airport.

Suvarnabhumi is expected to handle 51 million passengers this year, up from 47.2 million in 2011 and well beyond its designed capacity of 45 million. Flight delays of 15-30 minutes have been increasingly common in recent months, while passengers complain of lengthy queues at check-in and immigration counters.

National Police chief Priewpan Damapong visited crowded Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday and didn't seem too pleased with what he saw. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Authorities have long discussed plans to build a second terminal, satellite terminals and two new runways to help double Suvarnabhumi's passenger and cargo handling capacity.

Previous policies called for Don Mueang's eventual closure, with former transport minister Sukumpol Suwanatat saying in December that Suvarnabhumi should be Bangkok's sole airport.

Airline executives expressed reservations over the latest policy change.

Orient Thai founder Udom Tantiprasong said policy clarity was needed from the government.

"It is more convenient to operate from Don Mueang than Suvarnabhumi, but the point is that a clear policy is needed. The government shouldn't mention a single-airport approach one day then change later."

Mr Udom said Orient Thai has had to move its operations three times in recent years, with staff forced to relocate each time.

The flooding at Don Mueang late last year was another concern, he said, adding that the government needed to clearly explain its flood prevention plans for the airport.

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queue – a line of people waiting for something คิว
chartered – hired especially for the use of a particular group เช่าเหมาลำ
ease – to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious บรรเทา
congestion – a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน
single – one only เดี่ยว
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
budget – very cheap ถูก,ประหยัด
scrap – to get rid of; to stop using or accepting เลิก, ทิ้ง
encourage – to cause someone to want to do something กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
shift – to move to another place; to change ย้าย, เปลี่ยน
expand – to make or become larger ขยาย
in the meantime – during the time between two events or between the present time and a future event  เวลาในระหว่างนั้น
relieve – to help improve a bad situation ผ่อนคลาย, บรรเทา
practical – suitable for the situation in which something is used ที่ขึ้นอยู่กับความเป็นจริง
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
adopt – to accept or to start using something new นำมาใช้
dual – having two parts or aspects ประกอบด้วยสองส่วน, เป็นคู่
commercial – for business purposes เกี่ยวกับการค้า
replace – to put something new in place of something old  นำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
incentive – something that makes you want to do something or work harder, because you know that you will benefit by doing this สิ่งกระตุ้น
quote – to repeat the words that someone else has said or written ยกคำพูดมา
ultimately – finally, after a series of things have happened ท้ายที่สุด, ตอนสุดท้าย, ในที่สุด
capacity – the amount of something that can be produced or done  ความสามารถในการ (ระบาย, ผลิต etc.)
delay – when you have to wait longer than expected for something to happen, or the time that you have to wait การเลื่อน, การเสียเวลา
common – ordinary; not unusual or special ธรรมดา
immigration – dealing with people entering and leaving the country การตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
pleased – happy and satisfied พอใจ
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
terminal – a large building at an airport where passengers arrive and leave อาคารผู้โดยสาร
satellite – something that is controlled by a larger thing or that depends on a larger thing but is separate from it บริวาร
runway – a long narrow strip of ground with a hard surface that an aircraft takes off from and lands on ทางขึ้นลงของเครื่องบิน
double – to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
cargo – things that are being sent by ship, plane, train or truck  สินค้าที่บรรทุกและจัดส่งโดยเรือ เครื่องบินหรือรถไฟ
eventual – at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
sole – only เดี่ยว
reservations – feeling of doubt about whether something is good or right  ข้อจำกัด
founder – a person who establishes an institution, business, or organization ผู้ก่อตั้ง
clarity – the ability to be easily seen, heard  or understood  ความชัดเจน
convenient – easy to do, or not causing problems or difficulties สะดวก
operate – to carry out a planned activity involving a lot of people to work in a particular way or from a particular place ปฏิบัติ, ปฏิบัติงาน
mention – to say something during a conversation, but not discuss it much or give many details; to refer to something in a written document without giving many details พูดถึง, กล่าวถึง,  อ้างถึง, เอ่ยถึง
approach – a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย 
staff – all the workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
relocate – to move something to a new place ย้ายที่ใหม่
concern – a worry ความกังวล
prevention – preventing something bad from happening การป้องกันภ้ย

Related search: Don Mueang airport, Suvarnabhumi airport, congestion

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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