Suvarnabhumi growth plan to be reviewed

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered a review of the Suvarnabhumi airport expansion plan to make sure it keeps up with an increase in passenger numbers, Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan said.

Mr Jarupong said the review of the expansion plan will focus on Phase 3 and Phase 4 which may not be up-to-date because the plan was drafted almost a decade ago.

"We need to raise new questions. How many passengers do we expect in the next 8-10 years? Will the estimated number remain at 100 million? Do we need to speed up Phase 3 and Phase 4?" he said. Mr Jarupong said he has instructed the Airports of Thailand (AoT) Plc to hold a workshop on Oct 29 to get input from all agencies concerned, including the airline and tourism industries.

He said the AoT has also been urged to study development plans for other international airports as part of the review. A revised expansion plan is expected to be completed early next year, the minister said.

Meanwhile, Somchai Sawasdeepon, Suvarnabhumi airport director, said the AoT is gearing up for an expected surge in passenger traffic during the peak tourist season.

He said the agency will hold talks with the Department of Civil Aviation, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand and airlines to discuss the possibility of rescheduling flights.

He also plans to improve immigration and travel document processing services next year. Immigration officers will be increased to 200 and electronic machines added to speed up the process, he said.

Mr Somchai said Ms Yingluck will inspect Don Mueang airport tomorrow following its full reactivation to accommodate domestic flights. He said a plan to expand Don Mueang airport will also be proposed to accommodate an expected increase in passenger traffic.

About the author

Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
Position: Reporter