The Department of Airports will open bidding for its regional airports development projects -- valued at 8.8 billion baht -- this year, department director-general Darun Sangchai said.
Mr Darun said the bidding will be staged to seek contractors for four provincial airport development projects and the installation of the In-Line Baggage Handling and Screening system, an automated security programme worth a total 8.8 billion baht being used to screen baggage at several other airports.
Contract signings for all projects are expected to be completed this December as the budget was allocated under the first quarter of the 2018-fiscal year, between this October and January.
The airport development projects worth 7 billion baht will be implemented on four provincial airports in Krabi, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani and Trang. Of the budget, about 3.2 billion baht was allocated for Krabi airport, for a new passenger terminal and maintenance of two existing terminals, while another 1.3 billion baht will be spent on improving its aprons.
For Khon Kaen airport, 2.2 billion baht was allotted for the expansion of its terminal and parking lot, to allow it to handle up to 1,000 vehicles, while the Ubon Ratchathani airport terminal will also be enlarged to accommodate more passengers with a 177-million-baht budget.
At Trang airport, 110 million baht will be used in expanding its departure passenger terminal to accommodate three flights per hour in order to alleviate congestion.
The department also plans to seek an additional budget for the construction of a new terminal at the airport in the 2019-fiscal year.
Mr Darun also said the department was in the process of seeking contractors to install the In-Line Baggage Handling & Screening system -- costing 1.8 billion baht -- at eight airports in Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Khon Kaen, Phitsanulok, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom and Narathiwat.
The system has already been installed at Krabi, Surat Thani and Udon Thani airports. The department aims to complete installation at 29 airports nationwide by next year. The system is being installed in compliance with security measures raised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, he said.
Speaking about the department's new airports under development, Mr Darun said a new terminal, valued at 447 million baht, was under construction at Mae Sot airport in Tak.
The terminal is expected to handle up to 600 passengers per hour or about 1.5 million travellers per year.
Mr Darun said the department also wanted to upgrade Mae Sot airport to make it an international airport. Almost 300 million baht has gone into expansion of aprons, taxiways and runways at the airport, so it will be able to handle large-sized aircraft.
In Yala, Betong airport, the department's 29th regional airport, is also under construction, and is expected to be finished within the next two years.