AOT to start managing Udon Thani, Buri Ram, Krabi airports from 2023
Udon Thani, Buri Ram and Krabi airports will be put under the jurisdiction of Airports of Thailand (AOT) from early next year, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Monday.
He said the Cabinet had agreed in principle on August 30 to shift the management of the three airports from the ministry’s Department of Airports to AOT as of 2023.
Saksayam added that the Transport Ministry will consider the Finance Ministry’s opinions on transferring the airports’ management before it submits a final report to the Cabinet.
Airports of Thailand Plc is a public company with the Finance Ministry as its major shareholder.
“Basically, Airports of Thailand will manage the three airports,” the minister announced.
However, he said, the three airports will remain the property of the Treasury Department, while AOT will only be licensed to manage and use them for commercial purposes.
Before taking over, AOT is expected to deposit the value of all moveable assets in the three airports in the Department of Airports’ revolving fund, which will finance the management of other airports, Saksayam said.
He added that AOT has yet to come up with an operation plan for the three airports that is in line with the law and takes public interest into account.
Saksayam added that he has instructed AOT to come up with ways of directing passengers to other airports to prevent congestion in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
“For instance, all domestic flights do not have to take off from Don Mueang Airport. New routes like Korat-Hua Hin or Korat-Chiang Mai can also be introduced,” he said.
A source from the Transport Ministry said AOT is planning to spend 3.52 billion baht to develop Udon Thani airport and has earmarked 460 million baht for Buri Ram airport.
The development budget for Krabi airport will be 5.22 billion baht if signs indicate that Phang Nga airport can start operating by 2031. If not, then the budget for Krabi airport will be increased to 6.49 billion baht, the source added.
The three airports will be upgraded into regional airports before they are turned into secondary flight hubs in the future, the source added.