Suvarnabhumi gears up for more expansion

Suvarnabhumi gears up for more expansion

Scheme includes new terminal, runway

Opened in 2006 to handle a maximum of 40 million passengers a year, Suvarnabhumi airport is already handling 50 million and urgently needs expansion. (Photo via Google Maps)
Opened in 2006 to handle a maximum of 40 million passengers a year, Suvarnabhumi airport is already handling 50 million and urgently needs expansion. (Photo via Google Maps)

Airports of Thailand expects to call bidding to upgrade Suvarnabhumi Airport under its third phase of development next year, with the aim of relieving overcrowding of passengers with a new passenger terminal and runway.

The move follows phase two of the airport's expansion in which projects are being auctioned as authorities race against time to cope with the soaring number of air travellers, AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said.

Currently, authorities are working on two things to pave the way for phase three of the development project.

They are preparing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) reports, required by law, as well as drafting the terms of reference to hire designers for the new facilities.

The latter is expected to be completed first, allowing the AoT to start the bidding within one and two months of its completion, Mr Nitinai said.

All in all, he said, the AoT should be ready to call bids in the fourth quarter of next year or no later than the first quarter of the following year.

Under phase three of the project, worth 54.6 billion baht, Mr Nitinai said, the largest portion of money, totaling 34.6 billion baht, will be spent on the construction of a new terminal which will bolster the airport's capacity to serve 90 million passengers a year.

The single-terminal airport, which has been open for more than a decade, was originally designed for 45 million people.

With the growing number of passengers, the AoT decided to carry out phase two of the expansion which aimed to accommodate 60 million people.

However, this capacity was soon proved to not be enough.

Another important part of the plan's third phase is the construction of a new runway, which would cost about 20 billion baht, Mr Nitinai said.

At present, the AoT is expediting the bidding for all projects in the second phase of development, which requires an 50.3-billion-baht investment, its president added.

New facilities in this phase includes the expansion of the eastern side of the original terminal and the car park building as well as the construction of an aerobridge link to the airport's southern part.

The agency is also preparing to call bidding to install an Automatic People Mover at the airport.

The APM, with an estimated of cost of 2.8 billion baht, would help transportation within Suvarnabhumi Airport as it would carry passengers between the old and new terminals, Mr Nitinai said.

In another development, the AoT is ready for a new round of checks by the International Civil Aviation Organisation which will next year start the Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) at airports worldwide.

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