Thailand’s four major international airports being expanded to cope with return of foreign tourists
The government is expanding at least four international airports to cope with the return of foreign tourists after the Covid pandemic, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Taisaranakul said efforts are being speeded up to expand major international airports after the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand predicted that the number of foreign arrivals would reach the pre-Covid level in 2024.
The expansion of the airports are also aimed at coping with the prediction of the International Air Transport Association, the spokeswoman added. She quoted the IATA as predicting around 200 million foreign arrivals in 2031.
Traisulee said the four major airport expansion projects are:
● Suvarnabhumi International Airport Phase 2
Under the project, the construction of the Satellite Airport Terminal – 1 (SAT-1) has been completed and the Transport Ministry will start using the new terminal this year. The SAT-1 terminal will boost the airport’s capacity from 45 million passengers a year to 60 million a year.
Traisulee said the airport was also building its third runway, and the construction would be completed in 2024. After the third runway is completed, the airport will be able to receive 94 flights per hour from the current 68 flights per hour.
● Don Mueang International Airport Phase 3
The Cabinet on November 29 last year approved the Phase-3 development. Construction will start this year, and is due to be completed in 2029.
The Phase 3 project involves multiple constructions, including the third terminal, a runway, a new aircraft hangar and a warehouse building.
The airport will also build other basic facilities, including a new carpark building, a new office building, new roads, a new maintenance building, a garbage management zone, a new drainage system, and a fire station.
Traisulee said when the project is completed, the Don Mueang airport would be able to accommodate 40 million passengers a year, from the current 30 million.
● Expansion of the U-Tapao International Airport in Rayong
The expansion will be carried out in four phases and once completed in 2055, the airport will be able to receive 60 million passengers a year.
Traisulee said the first phase would be completed in 2024, after which the airport would be able to accommodate 15.9 million passengers a year.
● Phuket International Airport Phase 2
The project aims to expand passenger capacity from 12.5 million a year to 18 million. The project includes the expansion of the international terminal, and the expansion of aircraft hangars as well as expansion of basic infrastructure.
Traisulee said Airports of Thailand Plc, which runs the airports, is now selecting an advisory firm to set the details of the project.
As part of the preparations for increased international flights, the government has also drafted a new civil aviation master plan, which will be in use until 2037. Traisulee said the Cabinet approved the plan on Tuesday.