Airports of Thailand (AoT) is expecting to see massive profit growth in 2024 -- as much as double that posted in 2019 -- as long as China drops its strict travel restrictions, which will help bring global aviation demand back to pre-pandemic levels.
The forecast was unveiled on Monday by AoT president, Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, at a forum held to discuss the agency's preparations to welcome more businesses as the aviation and other related sectors begin to recover.
According to the forecast, demand for flights will strongly rebound in the next fiscal year, with AoT expecting the number of passengers to reach 66% of pre-pandemic levels.
Prior to the pandemic, about 140 million travellers passed through six airports managed by the AoT -- namely Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Greater Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang airport in Chiang Rai.
Once China eases its strict travel restrictions, the AoT can see its profits grow by 100% from 2019 levels in 2024, or up to about 26 billion baht.
In a bid to further boost passenger experience, the AoT will soon launch a new satellite terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport, which could accomodate 15 million passengers per year. The new terminal, dubbed SAT1, will bring the airport's annual passenger handling capacity to 60 million people, he said.
SAT1, with a floor space of 216,000 square metres, will have 28 aircraft parking bays. It will be equipped with the latest technology to make the boarding process more efficient, he said, noting the AoT has to adapt to the changing demands of air passengers.