AoT unveils airport app for global travellers
Airports of Thailand (AoT) on Wednesday launched a mobile app designed to improve convenience for travellers.
The AOT Digital Airports app can be downloaded on both smartphones and computers. It can be used to access information about AoT airports and 16 partners around the world, including Munich and Narita airports.
AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the app is linked to the airports' information technology systems.
"The app is also linked to tourism service providers outside the airports, which enables travellers to book tours and transport services," he said.
Data available via the app include general airport information, flight alerts, check-in counters, maps of the terminal, car parks and shopping and dining areas. It appears in five languages: Thai, Chinese, English, Russian and Japanese.
Mr Nitinai said the app will provide a large dataset on airport users' activities and information, which will in turn help AoT to improve services for passengers.
"This year is a milestone for AoT, as we have digitalised many aspects of our operations," he said. "We are on track to become a fully digital organisation."
In addition, AoT is working with CAT Telecom and Google to offer free WiFi services at six of its airports. The service, called "Free Airport Google Station WiFi by CAT", will enable users to access the internet with download and upload speeds of up to 30 megabytes per second.
In another development, Mr Nitinai said AoT has changed its regional airport takeover and development plan to include the transport minister's home province, Buri Ram.
The expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport will also be accelerated.
He said the agency would take over and upgrade Krabi airport in the South, Buri Ram and Udon Thani airports in the Northeast, and Tak airport in the North. They are currently operated by the Department of Airports.
This represents 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 are already heavily congested and AoT could not wait for the construction of second airports in Chiang Mai and Phuket, which would take three to five years, Mr Nitinai said.
The upgrades to the four airports would cost about 12 billion baht, he said. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Wednesday that the AoT takeover of the four regional airports would be proposed to the cabinet before the end of the year.
The proposal will include a new 750-million-baht passenger terminal and runway expansion at Buri Ram airport to accommodate bigger planes. Buri Ram is Mr Saksayam's home province.
The minister also said he had ordered an immediate start to construction of the 42-billion-baht second passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport, instead of the gradual expansion earlier planned.
This would increase the capacity of the main national airport, which is already over-stretched, far more rapidly, he said.