Airports of Thailand (AOT) aims to push Suvarnabhumi airport to rank among the world's 50 best airports within the next two years, according to the new chairman of its board of directors.
Speaking upon assuming the post on Thursday, Pol Gen Visanu Prasattongosoth said that AOT has a policy to upgrade and expand six airports under its supervision to respond to the resurgence of air travel worldwide after the Covid-19 pandemic.
They are Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang airports.
The plan is to increase airport personnel and facilities as well as expand the airports' capacity to handle more foreign arrivals, he said.
AOT plans to make Thailand a regional air travel hub and bring Suvarnabhumi airport into the world's top 50, he added.
It ranked 68th in the Skytrax World Airport Awards last year and 77th in 2022.
"The factors that will contribute to the success of this include attaching value to manpower, boosting confidence in business, ensuring transparency, building public trust, and integrating the operations of all sectors in the aviation industry as a home team,'' Pol Gen Visanu said.
He said that urgent plans for this year include improving physical spaces and airport facility management systems at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in line with the government's policy to attract foreign visitors and investors, as well as upgrading the former to meet international standards this year.
Between October 2022 and this September, over 100 million passengers passed through the six airports. Of them, 48.37 million did so at Suvarnabhumi airport.
Pol Gen Visanu said AOT will speed up work on the 42-billion-baht North Expansion project, which will operate as a domestic terminal, separate from the main terminal.
When completed, it is expected to enable the airport to handle up to 90 million passengers a year, he said.
He said the Transport Ministry has approved the project, and it is now being scrutinised by the National Economic and Social Development Council before being submitted to the cabinet for budget allocations.
However, the project has been met with resistance from the Association of Siamese Architects under the Royal Patronage, which claims it would harm the environment.