Govt plans DMK-Betong flight roster
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Govt plans DMK-Betong flight roster

New airport in Yala to open next June

The Department of Airports is in talks with Bangkok Airways and Nok Air over them operating flights between Don Mueang airport (DMK) and a new airport in Betong district of Yala province, due to open in June next year.

The flight between Don Mueang and Betong will be 1 hour and 40 minutes and will mainly serve the tourism sector in the South, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

The new airport may also serve regional flights to and from neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore as there are a large number of tourists from these countries who might take up direct flights to Betong, he said.

The department is in the process of seeking certification for the operation, management and air navigation safety zone for the public airport in the area, construction work on which is almost complete.

The cabinet on Oct 6, 2015, agreed in principle to the construction of an airport in Betong, which was proposed as a solution to difficulties for visitors travelling to the south of the country.

It was also seen as another way to help the government further its plan to develop the three southernmost border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

The airport will also be a hub for tourists travelling to cities in neighbouring countries, according to Mr Arkhom. No details were available on its potential growth.

Construction began, at a cost of 1.9 billion baht, in 2016 and it is now between 85% and 95% complete.

The work is expected to be finished in September with the entire airport ready to start operations in June next year.

The Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co has begun preparing to install air traffic control equipment and training staff who will be working at the airport's air traffic control tower, he said.

The Meteorological Department also plans to install equipment to assist with air navigation some time in May next year when the construction of the air traffic control tower is expected to finish, he said.

The Department of Rural Roads, meanwhile, has begun constructing an 850-metre long road between Highway No.4326 and the new airport, which is expected to be complete in July.

The expansion of a section of the highway from Betong's city centre to Yarom intersection, from two lanes to four lanes, will cater for the extra traffic created by those travelling between the new airport and the district's city centre.

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