AoT to install body scanners at six airports
Security, commercial upgrade costs B194bn
The Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) will upgrade screening systems at six airports nationwide to enhance airport security standards.
AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the agency planned to replace several security detection devices at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai airports.
Walk-through metal detectors will be replaced with full body scanners which will be able to spot both metal and non-metallic objects, weapons and explosives, concealed under clothing.
After the upgrades there will be a total of 32 body scanners.
Of them, 20 will be stationed at Suvarnabhumi airport, three at Don Mueang, four at Phuket, two in Chiang Mai, one in Chiang Rai and two in Hat Yai.
Besides the full body scanners, current X-ray machines which rely on constant visual supervision to screen carry-on baggage will also be replaced with 34 new detection devices, called Advanced Technology X-ray, which will be able to detect and identify hidden explosive objects.
Mr Nitinai said airport development and expansion plans, designed to cope with an influx of passengers, will be conducted simultaneously with the security upgrade.
He said the AoT aimed to increase the six airports' total capacity from 83.5 million passengers a year to 190 million over the next five years. Buildings in the airports' premises will also be designed to serve commercial purposes.
The commercial areas of Phuket airport will be doubled which will generate up to 50% more revenue while at Suvarnabhumi airport, the ratio of non-aviation revenue to aviation revenue will change from 40:60 to 50:50 by 2020.
As for Don Mueang airport, if the 33,000 square metres of commercial space in Terminal 2 were fully occupied, it would generate about one billion baht more than the 1.5 billion baht it currently generates a year.
Mr Nitinai said the developments and upgrades at the airports will cost about 194 billion baht.
Of the budget, the AoT board has approved a master plan for the development of Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Chiang Mai airports worth 162 billion baht while a master plan to develop Phuket, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai airports valued at about 32 billion baht is due to be proposed for the board's consideration.
The development of Suvarnabhumi airport, worth about 117 billion baht, was expected to be completed by 2021. The airport's passenger capacity will increase from 45 million to 90 million passengers a year.
A budget of 31.8 billion baht will be earmarked for Don Mueang airport which will be finished by 2022 and will handle up to 40 million visitors a year.
The development of Chiang Mai airport, worth 12.7 billion baht, will be complete by 2030 and will serve up to 20 million tourists a year. About 12 billion will also be allotted to Phuket airport which was expected to be completed by 2022 to accommodate 18 million passengers a year.
A budget of five billion baht will be used to finance the development of Chiang Rai airport which was expected to be finished by 2022 to accommodate up to three million passengers a year, while 15 billion baht will be earmarked for Hat Yai airport which will be completed in 2030.