The new satellite terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport has been opened to the public following a soft launch on Thursday.
The new satellite terminal, dubbed Satellite 1 (SAT-1), will increase the overall handling capacity of the country’s main international gateway to 60 million a year from 45 million, said Kittipong Kittikachorn, director of Suvarnabhumi airport.
Passenger traffic through the 17-year-old airport has been recovering steadily from the slowdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
The airport recorded 268,477 take-offs and landings in the current fiscal year that ends on Sept 30, 59.4% higher than traffic figures reported in the previous fiscal year.
The total number of passengers processed through the airport in the same period reached 44.4 million, up 153.4% from the previous 12 months.
“Throughout our 17 years of operations, Suvarnabhumi airport has welcomed 756.47 million passengers on 4.74 million flights. The total amount of cargo transported through the airport reached 20.95 million tonnes,” said Mr Kittipong.
The increasing number of passengers travelling through the airport, which has continued to rise since the pandemic ended, prompted the decision to build SAT-1, along with a third runway to allow more aircraft to take off and land at the same time.
Furthermore, a new Individual Carrier System (ICS) has been installed at SAT-1 to enhance the terminal’s baggage handling capacity, allowing for a more efficient transfer of luggage between SAT-1 and Suvarnabhumi airport’s main terminal.
SAT-1 is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, Mr Kittipong said. The satellite terminal, he added, will increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity from 45 million to 60 million annually.
The third runway, which is now under construction, is set to be operational in July 2025, he added. It will expand aircraft handling capacity from 68 flights per hour to 94 flights.
Suvarnabhumi airport management is working on plans to further expand overall handling capacity, which include the construction of an annex to the east of the main terminal, which will expand the terminal’s total area by 66,000 square metres.
The expansion will allow the airport to handle 15 million more passengers annually.
The project has been approved by the cabinet, and the procurement process will begin next year, said Mr Kittipong.
Suvarnabhumi airport will also improve its cargo handling capacity by implementing the Free Zone Data Management System and introducing the EZ Cargo application.