AoT revises master plan for airport
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AoT revises master plan for airport

Notes increasing passenger demand

Tourists at the Suvarnabhumi airport passenger terminal on April 11 during this year’s Songkran festival. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Tourists at the Suvarnabhumi airport passenger terminal on April 11 during this year’s Songkran festival. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Suvarnabhumi Airport master plan is being revised to prioritise terminal construction and expansion projects to cater to fast-growing passenger traffic demand, according to the Airports of Thailand (AoT).

The new phase of the master plan spanning the next 10 years needs to be modified to lift the pace of expanding the main terminal and construction of new ones to keep up with rapid growth in air traffic, said AoT director Kirati Kijmanawat.

The master plan looks into investments in three projects: the western expansion as well as the construction of the southern terminal and the Satellite 2 building.

With the master plan's revision comes the decision as to which of the three projects will be launched first.

Once such a project is picked, it will be designed, a task that takes up to about a year to complete with construction expected to begin in 2026.

Mr Kirati insisted the project to expand the eastern side of Suvarnabhumi Airport's main terminal, which was approved at a cost of 10 billion baht, is pressing ahead.

The design of the construction blueprint of the expansion project for the country's gateway has been adjusted. The bidding process for construction firms is likely to open no later than August, he said.

The terminal's eastern expansion will add 15 million passengers to the airport's overall handling capacity, currently standing at 60 million passengers. This year, passenger traffic through the main terminal is expected to exceed 65 million, bouncing back close to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels.

The project aims to expand the main terminal area by 60,000 square metres. It is equipped with a four-storey office building and a carpark building as well as a walkway platform connecting the main terminal.

Mr Kirati said ultimately the southern terminal project will need to be built, given the constant rise in air travel demands. Construction is estimated to take about four years, and it is only a matter of time before the project is sought for government approval and implemented.

Turning to Don Mueang Airport, Mr Kirati has reported progress in the current expansion of the country's second-biggest hub serving mostly low-cost airlines on both domestic and international routes.

He said the design of the latest development plan for Don Mueang Airport will be finalised next year.

The AoT has also prepared 36 billion baht to finance the project, which involves building a new international terminal where the now-decommissioned domestic terminal is standing.

The present international terminals 1 and 2 will be combined into one and turned into a domestic terminal.

The AoT oversees the operations of six main airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang as well as Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai airports. Altogether, traffic across the six airports is estimated to reach 140 million passengers this year, which is close to pre-pandemic figures.

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