Don Mueang-Betong flights planned

Don Mueang-Betong flights planned

New airport scheduled to open in Yala next June

Construction is more than 85% complete at Betong airport, scheduled to open in June 2020. (Photo from Betong Airport Facebook page)
Construction is more than 85% complete at Betong airport, scheduled to open in June 2020. (Photo from Betong Airport Facebook page)

The Department of Airports is in talks with Bangkok Airways and Nok Air about operating flights between Don Mueang airport in Bangkok and a new airport in Betong district of Yala province, due to open in June next year.

The flight between Don Mueang and Betong would take 1 hour and 40 minutes and would mainly serve the tourism sector in the South, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

The new airport may also serve regional flights to and from neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore as many tourists from those countries might take direct flights to Betong, he said.

The department is in the process of seeking certification for the operation, management and air navigation safety zone for the public airport, on which construction is almost complete.

The cabinet in 2015 approved a proposal to build the airport in Betong to help ease difficulties faced by visitors travelling to the south of the country. It was also seen as another way to help develop the troubled border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

Construction began in 2016 and it is now more than 85% complete, with a total cost estmated at 1.9 billion baht. Work is expected to be finished in September with to begin operations in June next year.

Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co has begun preparing to install air traffic control equipment and train tower staff, the minister said.

The Meteorological Department also plans to install equipment to assist with air navigation in May next year when the tower is cpmpleted, he added.

The Department of Rural Roads, meanwhile, has begun building an 850-metre long road between Highway 4326 and the new airport, which is expected to be completed in July.

The expansion of a section of the road from the Betong city centre to the Yarom intersection, from two lanes to four, will cater to extra traffic created by those travelling between the new airport and the city centre.

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