Traffic up 15.7% at big Thai airports

Thailand's main airports posted a 15.7% rise in passenger throughput in the first two months of the year to reflect an uptrend in demand spurred by general improvement in the economy and the tourism industry.

Combined passenger volume for January-February at the six airports run by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), including the flagship Suvarnabhumi, soared to 15.06 million compared with 13.01 million in the same period last year.

Total aircraft movements in terms of take-offs and landings grew in tandem, with passenger volumes rising by 15.5% to 94,133, according to statistics compiled by the state-controlled airport operator.

The increase in overall air traffic through AoT airports was partly due to the recovery of air travel demand, which was suppressed by the floods of late 2011 that shut down Bangkok's Don Mueang for five months.

Total international passenger traffic surged by 18.5% in the first two months to 9.47 million, while domestic passenger throughput rose by 11.4% to 5.58 million.

International aircraft movements rose by 13.3% to 52,480, while domestic flights increased by 18.3% to 41,653.

AirAsia's shift of its operating base from Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang in October 2012 had a significant impact on air traffic volume at the two airports during the period under review.

Suvarnabhumi's total passenger throughput in the first two months of 2013 fell by 9.8% year-on-year to 8.82 million, with domestic volume plunging by 46.8% to 1.57 million as international volume rose by 6.4% to 7.24 million.

Total aircraft movements recorded at Suvarnabhumi fell by 20.5% in the first two months to 47,558, while international volume fell by 4.4% to 37,276.

Don Mueang, on the other hand, registered 2.58 million passengers _ a huge leap from just 406 in the same period last year, when the airport was still paralysed by the country's worst flooding in 70 years.

Don Mueang's take-offs and landings in the first two months of 2013 totalled 22,920, up from 757 a year earlier.

About the author

Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business