Airports upgrade plan now includes minister's home province

Airports upgrade plan now includes minister's home province

Buriram airport is a new inclusion in the Airports of Thailand's takeover and upgrade plans. (Photo: Buriram airport Facebook account)
Buriram airport is a new inclusion in the Airports of Thailand's takeover and upgrade plans. (Photo: Buriram airport Facebook account)

Airports of Thailand has changed its regional airport takeover and development plan to include the transport minister's home province, Buriram. The expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport will also be accelerated.

AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said on Wednesday that the agency would take over and upgrade Krabi airport in the South, Buriram and UdonThani in the Northeast, and Tak in the North. They are presently operated by the Department of Airports.

This was a change from the earlier plan to increase air traffic capacity in the North and the South, he said.

Previously, AoT had intended to take over the department's airports in Udon Thani and Sakon Nakhon in the Northeast, Tak in the North and Chumphon airport in the upper South.

However, Chiang Mai airport in the North and Phuket airport in the South were already heavily congested and AoT could not wait for the construction of Chiang Mai 2 and Phuket 2 airports, which would take 3-5 years, Mr Nitinai said.

The upgrading of the four airports now chosen would cost about 12 billion baht, he said.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Wednesday that the takeover of the four regional airports by AoT would be proposed to the cabinet before the end of the year.

He would propose a new passenger terminal, at a cost of 750 million baht, and runway expansion at Buriram airport to accommodate bigger planes. Buriram is Mr Saksayam's home province.  

The minister also said he had ordered an immediate start on the construction of the 42-billion-baht second passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport, instead of waiting for the gradual expansion earlier planned. This would more rapidly increase the capacity of the main national airport, which is already over-stretched.



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