Key airports' passengers to hit 200m, says Arkhom

Key airports' passengers to hit 200m, says Arkhom

Active plans for expansion at the three airports mean that within three years they will be able to handle 200 million passengers a year.
Active plans for expansion at the three airports mean that within three years they will be able to handle 200 million passengers a year.

Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports will have a collective capacity to handle up to 200 million passengers a year when each of their development plans are complete, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Monday.

He made the comments during the opening ceremony for the 22nd annual Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (Canso) Global Air Traffic Management summit.

He made the comment although definite plans for the development of the three airports are still unclear.

Current plans are for Don Mueang to accommodate 70 million passengers a year once its third terminal opens in 2021.

Suvarnabhumi's capacity will reach 60 million when its second phase of development wraps up by the middle of 2020. Meanwhile, U-Tapao will hit capacity of 3 million in January.

Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), the state enterprise that operates Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, announced in late April a new international passenger terminal will be constructed at Don Mueang to accommodate soaring passenger numbers.

Scheduled to open in 2021, the new third terminal is set to replace the old, unused terminal, which was decommissioned in 2006 to make way for Suvarnabhumi's opening.

Terminal 3 alone will be able to take in 40 million passengers per year, according to AoT reports.

Last year, the airport serviced more than 38 million passengers using two terminals despite only having a capacity of 30 million.

Suvarnabhumi, the largest airport complex in Southeast Asia, is also scheduled to go through its second phase of expansion and development.

AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the 62.5-billion-baht revamp will involve building a secondary concourse, an aircraft parking lot and a tunnel linking the main passenger terminal to the concourse using an automated people mover, or short electric train network.

The second phase is expected to be concluded by mid-2020. It was originally scheduled to finish by 2019. While Suvarnabhumi has a total of four development phases, deadlines for the remaining two have not yet been set.

Mr Arkhom said all four phases would see Suvarnabhumi's capacity increase to 90 million passengers. AoT reports state the airport serviced 60 million last year, exceeding its stated capacity of 45 million and straining the system.

He added that U-Tapao, tipped to be an Asean regional hub, has a long-term plan of expanding its capacity to 60 million passengers a year. The terms of reference are awaiting an announcement from the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Committee by July.

According to the airport's reports, its partially-open terminal will be able to handle 3 million passengers from January.

U-Tapao saw about 1 million passengers in 2017 but the number is expected to double this year.

Its short-term EEC-backed plans include a new terminal, runway and station for the high-speed railway set to link it to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang by 2023.

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