Don Mueang studies airport upgrade
Don Mueang airport will propose a 2.2-billion-baht renovation project for its old domestic terminal to the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) for consideration next month, general manager Suthirawat Suwannawat said.
The upgrading of the old terminal is part of the third-phase development plan for the airport, which is being sped up to ease overcrowding problems, said Mr Suthirawat.
The number of passengers at Don Mueang is expected to grow by 14% to 42 million passengers this year, compared to the 37 million passengers who passed through the airport in 2017. If approved, work can begin late this year or early next year, and the terminal, currently closed to passengers, can be operational by 2020, he said.
The airport management also plans to push for the implementation of another two projects to help the airport's passenger handling operations, says Mr Suthirawat.
These projects are the 22-million-baht jet bridge renovation project and the installation of more immigration checkpoints to increase handling capacity from 2,000 passengers per hour to 3,000 per hour.
These two projects, alongside the renovation of the old domestic terminal, are being treated as priorities for the third-phase development plan of the airport.
The third-phase upgrade is estimated to cost 32 billion baht and is expected to be operational by 2024.
Meanwhile, AoT Plc is expected to approve several short-term development projects for Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai and Phuket airports to address overcrowding problems there.
AoT President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the short-term plans are urgently needed at the three airports as they are currently exceeding handling capacity.
Suvarnabhumi airport handles 60 million passengers per year, well exceeding its maximum capacity of 45 million.
The short-term development plan for Suvarnabhumi does not require heavy funding and will focus on better management of the space and the use of automated systems to facilitate operations, Mr Nitinai said.
However, as for the Phuket and Chiang Mai airports, the AoT Plc has a plan to build a second airport in each province.