CHIANG MAI: Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin supports the Airports of Thailand (AOT) plan to build a second airport for Chiang Mai in seven years and welcome flights at the existing airport around the clock to serve the growing demand of visitors to the northern tourist province.
Representatives of AOT presented its second Chiang Mai airport project when the prime minister visited Chiang Mai airport on Sunday. The project was estimated at 70 billion baht and its completion was expected in seven years.
The new airport – to be built on a land plot covering about 11 square kilometres in Ban Thi district of the adjacent province of Lamphun – will raise Chiang Mai's passenger-handling capacity to 20 million passengers annually from the present capacity of 8 million passengers a year.
Prime Minister Srettha said that the seven-year timeframe was appropriate and officials concerned should ensure the new airport will be completed as scheduled.
"The government will do its best to support the project," he said.
Pending the new airport, AOT plans to welcome flights around the clock. Groups of people living in the vicinity of the existing airport voiced their environmental impact concerns with Mr Srettha on Sunday.
AOT representatives said that noise pollution from airport operations did not exceed a safety threshold.
The prime minister said that authorities concerned would address people's concerns and arrange for appropriate compensation.