11 July 2024

Airports of Thailand (AOT) will continue to expand the capacity of its existing airports and build two new airports, with an estimated investment of Bt150 billion, to cope with the increasing number of domestic and international passengers.

Speaking at a seminar called “Section II: Next Step” on Wednesday, AOT chief executive officer Kirati Kitmanawat said that the company plans to build the new Lanna and Andaman airports, which are estimated to cost Bt70 billion and Bt80 billion respectively. They will be capable of accommodating 40 million passengers annually.

The two projects are undergoing feasibility studies and the land expropriation process is expected to begin in the middle of next year.

Kirati said Suvarnabhumi airport will handle 60 million passengers this year, down from 65 million before the COVID-19 pandemic.

He predicted, however, that the number of passengers will return to 65 million next year and up to 80 million in 2027, hence the need for additional capacity, with the planned expansion of aerobridge terminal space by about 50%, or 200,000 square metres, 28 additional aerobridges and the phasing out of the bus gate service for the convenience of passengers.

Additionally, the third runway will be further developed, to ease the problem of a shortage of parking apron for planes, while the luggage transport system will also be improved.

A third passenger terminal is planned at Don Mueang airport, while the existing first and second passenger terminals will be used for domestic flights only, to accommodate the rise in domestic passengers, with a capacity to accommodate up to 35 million passengers a year, up from 20 million.

AOT also plans to build a new terminal at Chiang Mai airport, with the aim of turning the airport into an international gateway to accommodate more than the current 8 million passengers per year.

Phuket airport will also be expanded, to cope with 20 million passengers annually, up from today’s 12 million, said Kirati, adding that AOT has plans to increase the use of clean energy and build a 50 megawatt solar power plant.