The Department of Airports has spent more than 4.5 billion baht to improve the capacity of 29 regional airports, as part of a plan to facilitate a target of more than 41 million passengers next year, the DoA said.
"It is estimated that in 2023 there will be more than 41 million passengers visiting airports under the DoA, an increase from the 29 million passengers during the pandemic," director-general Parinya Saengsuwan said yesterday. It is unclear which period he was referring to.
He said the number of commercial flights is consistently increasing and the department spent the money to revamp air travel networks in Thailand.
Moreover, the department aims to operate check-in counters with multiple airlines so to save passengers' time, he said. The counters will be in service by the end of next year, he said.
He said the multi-billion-baht investment contributed to construction projects in many regional airports. For example, Terminals 1–3 at Krabi Airport now can handle 3,000 passengers per hour or 8 million per year, as opposed to the previous 1,500 per hour, he said.
Capacity at Khon Kaen and Nakhon Si Thammarat airports has doubled as a result of the investment, he said.
He said the DoA is also building other airport infrastructures, including taxiways, runways, aprons, and terminals, at regional airports in Nan, Surat Thani, Chumphon, Satun, Mukdahan, and Bueng Kan provinces. The project is currently going through its Environmental Impact Assessment.
The DoA is also working on a Transport Ministry project to build a bridge connecting the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman coasts to boost the southern economy.
The DoA's airport 2024–2027 development plan includes 3.6 billion baht that covers construction projects at Ranong, Chumphon, and Nakhon Si Thammarat airports, he said, adding 1.6 billion will be spent on a new terminal at Ranong airport so it can handle 1,000 passengers per hour.
The other 2 billion baht will go to Chumphon and Nakhon Si Thammarat airports, where upgrade projects will take place to maximise capacity in aeroplane parking, boarding and passenger disembarking, he said.