AoT pushed back on 2nd terminal plan

AoT pushed back on 2nd terminal plan

Govt stalls project for Suvarnabhumi

Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province (photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province (photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Transport Ministry has put the brakes on Airports of Thailand Plc's (AoT) plan to build Suvarnabhumi airport's 42-billion-baht second terminal, saying the scheme fails to take into consideration all related infrastructure projects.

Permanent secretary for transport Chaiwat Thongkamkoon said on Tuesday the ministry agreed with the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) review that concluded that AoT's plan for the second terminal development was not comprehensive enough.

AoT has been asked to revise the blueprint so it complies with other infrastructure developments including the U-Tapao airport development scheme and the high-speed train system linking Don Mueang airport in Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi in Samut Prakan and U-Tapao in Rayong, he said.

According to Mr Chaiwat, U-Tapao airport is being earmarked for major development while the high-speed railway linking the three key airports is likely to be crucial for the transport sector when it is completed.

Moreover, the AoT should also take into consideration the master plan drafted by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning for development of the aviation industry, he said.

"In the meeting, the AoT couldn't answer all the questions raised by the NESDB," he said.

Mr Chaiwat said it is likely to be decided at the next meeting whether Suvarnabhumi airport's 42-billion baht second terminal will be approved.

AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said on Tuesday the agency has explained its needs regarding the expansion and it is up to the NESDB to decide whether the project goes ahead.

If the current development plan is shot down, the AoT will have to start over, he said.

A Transport Ministry source said the AoT resubmitted the second terminal project to the Transport Ministry in late May for approval and cited support from aviation-related businesses.

According to the source, the AoT insisted the project would not affect airport management and it is a must-do project to ease crowding at an airport which serves 70 million passengers per year, exceeding its capacity of 40 million passengers.

It is reported that most pre-construction tasks have been completed and the company is only waiting for the official nod. Under the plan, the second terminal is expected to be ready between 2022 and 2023.

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