The Transport Ministry is seeking the government's approval to carry out Suvarnabhumi airport's East Expansion project, which will increase the passenger handling capacity of Thailand's main aviation gateway.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said Airports of Thailand (AoT) has enlisted the help of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to revise the blueprint of Suvarnabhumi airport's expansion — a project which would cost the government an estimated 57 billion baht. Iata has concluded its study, while the ICAO has yet to submit its findings, the minister said.
To prevent further delays in the airport's development, the ministry will ask a government committee overseeing the airport's expansion to allow the East Expansion project to proceed.
Once the committee — chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul — approves the request, the project's proposal will be forwarded to the cabinet for endorsement. Work on the project could begin as soon as it is endorsed by the cabinet.
The East Expansion project, which will increase the passenger handling capacity of Terminal 1 at Suvarnabhumi, had earlier been approved by the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).
As for the airport's North Expansion, Mr Saksayam said it will need to be jointly discussed between the AoT and the NESDC, taking into consideration an ICAO study on the matter.
Mr Saksayam justified the expansion plan by citing an Iata forecast which said by 2031, air passengers through Thailand will reach 200 million per year, putting Suvarnabhumi on track to becoming the ninth busiest airport in the world.
For this reason, a plan was needed to map out the further development of Suvarnabhumi as well as the expansion of its terminals. The details of the plan to expand the airport was reported by the media early last year. The project would see an Eastern and Western wing built adjacent to Terminal 1, adding to the airport's useable space by 66,000 square metres per wing. Each terminal would cost an estimated 7.8 billion baht, the reports said.
The blueprint also included a plan to construct a Northern wing at a cost of 41.2 billion baht, which would increase the airport's passenger handling capacity from 30 to 40 million per year.
Iata's study suggested the government proceed with this wing, as its size meant it could accommodate more domestic and international passengers.