Mukdahan airport to be regional hub
Isan gateway to cost B4.5bn to construct
The Department of Airports has completed a feasibility study for Mukdahan airport, which the government envisions as the northeastern region's gateway to Thailand's neighbouring countries, a source said on Monday.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said the airport, which will enable local residents to travel more conveniently to Laos and Myanmar, will cost about 4.535 billion baht.
Separately, the source said the department had finished the study and it would now be submitted to the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning for further consideration.
The study found the airport would be primarily used by passengers travelling to and infrom Savannakhet province in Laos, as well as those wishing to travel along the East-West corridor to and from Myanmar, via Tak.
That is in contrast with the nearby Sakhon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom airports, which generally serve as the endpoint of passengers' trips, the source said.
If the project gets the all-clear from the government, construction will begin in 2025 and the airport can start operating in 2027, the source said.
Air infrastructure upgrades will be needed as a special economic zone will be built in the area to enhance cross-border trade, the source added.
A 2,000-rai plot in tambon Kham Pa Lai in Muang district, about 20 kilometres from city, is being considered as a possible location for the airport, which would have 37,200 square metres of floor space, with a 2,500-metre runway.
In addition to the planned airport in Mukdahan, the Department of Airports will get a budget of 1.691 billion baht to improve four provincial airports in the Northeast: Buri Ram, Khon Kaen, Roi Et and Ubon Ratchathani.
Out of that budget, 950 million baht will be allocated to increase Buri Ram airport's passenger handling capacity to 780,000 passengers per year, by improving its runway, taxiway, apron as well as a cargo terminal.
Khon Kaen airport will be provided 500 million baht to increase its capacity to more than two million passengers per year.
Roi Et airport, meanwhile, will get 110 million baht to raise its annual handling capacity to 750,000 passengers.
Ubon Ratchathani airport will be given a budget of 131 million baht to increase its handling capacity to 2.4 million passengers, as well as its own bus terminal and parking area.
The department plans to upgrade Ubon Ratchathani airport into an international airport, the source added.