Betong airport to finally open Feb 28

The new terminal at Betong airport - now scheduled to open to commercial flights on Feb 28 but only to aircraft with fewer than 100 passengers, and no services have been confirmed yet. (Photo: Betong International Airport)

Betong airport in southern Yala province will open on Feb 28 for commercial flights, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said.

The minister said Feb 28 had been set after talks with provincial authorities on the operation of the long-delayed airport, according to a posting on the Facebook page of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SPBAC).

Mr Saksayam said planes using the southernmost airport will not intrude into nearby Malaysian territory. The approach and takeoff paths will be in Thai airspace.

The opening of the airport in Betong district of Yala province has been deferred for more than a year and the Transport Ministry has never clarified the cause of the delays. The last expected opening date was in September 2021.

Mr Saksayam and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul were on board a private jet that made a test landing at Betong on Saturday.

Although the airport will be operational at the end of this month, it is still not clear which  airlines will use it.

Mr Anutin named Nok Air as a potential airline as the budget flyer had requested financial aid in talks with the ministry on servicing the airport in the first phase.

The SPBAC said possible services are flights to and from Don Mueang and Hat Yai.

Betong airport is under the Aviation Department. It can serve only aircraft with fewer than 100 passengers. The department plans to extend the runway later, to handle bigger aircraft.

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