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Third wave of infections delays opening of Betong Airport in Yala


Yala’s Betong Airport opening has been delayed because the third wave of Covid-19 infections has affected the licence approval process, Department of Airports director-general Apirat Chaiwongnoi said on Thursday.

The airport was initially scheduled to open in April.

Once it starts operating, Betong Airport will be the 29th airport under the administration of the Department of Airports and will service both military and commercial flights.

“The department applied for a public transport licence with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand [CAAT], which wants the airport to make certain adjustments to meet the criteria,” he said. “We expect the adjustments to be completed in June, and the airport will obtain its licence shortly after.”

In February, Nok Air submitted a proposal to the Transport Ministry for flights between Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport and Betong Airport and put in for funding.

The airline also asked for a guarantee that its flights to Betong would be at least 75 per cent full for the first six months, and 60 per cent full thereafter.

Nok Air plans to fly between Don Mueang and Betong six times a week and will use small aircraft seating 86 passengers. The target customers are government officials and local tourists.

The 920-rai Betong Airport is located in Yarom sub-district and is just 12 kilometres from Betong downtown.

Built under a budget of Bt1.9 billion, the airport features a 1.8km runway that can accommodate small 70-80 seat planes and a terminal that targets 300,000 passengers yearly.

The airport plans to extend the runway to 2.1km to accommodate larger planes in the future.

Published : June 04, 2021

By : THE NATION