New terminal strays from plan
Location, design of building questioned
The Architect Council of Thailand (ACT) will submit a petition to the prime minister on Monday, detailing the irregularities it found in Suvarnabhumi airport's planned passenger terminal, according to its president.
"There are several faults with this new terminal. We are not in any way trying to derail the bidding process. We will simply inform the prime minister of the mistakes we have found," ACT president Thanit Kittiampon told the media.
ACT is questioning the location of new passenger terminal and its design.
According to Adm Thanit, the current location of the new terminal is not true to its masterplan.
The new design places the new terminal in a northeasterly position, while the original design -- based on the airport's first master plan introduced in 1993 by US-based construction management firm Louis Berger, Netherlands Airport Consultants and the ACT -- places the new terminal in a southerly position.
The original blueprint has two separate passenger terminals, while the new one has the northeast terminal built adjacent to the current terminal.
"AoT's new, proposed terminal is set to be constructed right in the middle of a logistics area, which differs from the original blueprint," Adm Thanit said.
The AoT had approved the design of the proposed terminal in June.
The new terminal will be built on around 400,000 sq m of land within Suvarnabhumi airport's premises at a cost 42 billion baht. The construction is set to start next year and the terminal is expected to be completed in 2021.
The ACT also questioned the transparency of the design competition, because the consortium that won is suspected of plagiarism.
On Aug 22, DBALP Consortium, partially owned by local celebrity architect Duangrit Bunnag, was declared the winner of the competition. The decision was questioned because the original winner, SA Group, was disqualified after failing to submit its cost quotation.
According to the AoT, this was required for compliance purposes and was specified in the contest's terms of reference.
Thai netizens also accused Mr Duangrit of copying the design of Yasuhara Wooden Bridge Museum by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Mr Duangrit insisted the design was his own.
AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn held a press conference Wednesday to explain the location of the new terminal.
He said the original second terminal -- known as the southern terminal -- will be built in 2025. The southern terminal will be larger and will take five years to build. Part of the final phase of Suvarnabhumi airport's development will see the airport's capacity rise to 150 million passengers per year, serving 120 flights per hour.
The AoT decided to build a new northeast terminal because it can help the airport deal with the increasing amount of passengers in time, according to Mr Nitinai.
"We have not disregarded the master plan. We are just following a new master plan which responds to the increasing number of passengers," he said.
Suvarnabhumi airport is already overcrowded, with 60 million passengers passing through the airport every year. Currently, the airport can handle 45 million passengers annually. The new northeast terminal will enable the airport to accommodate 30 million more passengers each year.
Mr Nitinai also said the new plan has already been approved by the National Economic and Social Development Board.
However, Somchet Thinaphong, former president of the now-defunct New Bangkok International Airport Company Limited (NBIA) that was asked to design Suvarnabhumi airport's master plan, blasted the AoT for deciding to construct the new terminal in the northeastern area of the airport.
"Constructing the terminal there would only increase traffic on the ground as they all have to share turning space with planes from the existing terminal," he said.
According to him, AoT's claim that the new terminal can take in an extra 30 million passengers a year is false.
"The new terminal will have 14 aircraft parking lots. The AoT said that their new satellite terminal can take in 20 million passengers with 28 parking lots," Mr Somchet said.
"The numbers don't add up."