The Airports of Thailand (AOT) is to speed up the second phase expansion of Suvarnabhumi Airport to 2016, one year ahead of its scheduled completion in 2017.
The Bt62.5 billion investment is being planned for the second phase, according to Transport Minister Sukampol Suwannathat. The ministry plans to strengthen Suvarnabhumi Airport's position as the region’s aviation hub.
Acting Suvarnabhumi Airport Director Somchai Sawasdipol said the expansion of Thailand’s gateway would lead to AOT suffering from a lack of liquidity from 2014. The company plans to issue bonds and debentures to help solve the problem.
Sukampol said that the AOT will develop Don Mueang Airport, mainly used for domestic flights, in cooperation with Thai Airways International as a maintenance centre and aviation industry hub. However, the airport will continue to service chartered flights and private jets.
In terms of the rehabilitation works being carried out at Don Mueang Airport following this year’s floods, the fixing of the eastern runway is scheduled for completion by February at a cost of Bt489 million while Bt1.25 billion is being spent to restore the western runway, which should be operational in January.
Sukampol said that the ministry has also instructed AOT to develop Phuket International Airport and has allocated a budget of Bt5.7 billion. An additional passenger terminal will be built and the three-kilometre runway will be extended by another 500-700 metres to accommodate large aircraft from Europe.
When finished in a few years from now, Phuket airport will be able to accommodate 12 million passengers per annum, nearly doubling its existing capacity of 6.5 million passengers annually.