New terminal will expand passenger handling area, provide 28 aircraft parking slots
The Airports of Thailand (AOT) has announced that 10 airlines have shown interest in using Suvarnabhumi Airport’s Satellite One (SAT-1) terminal once it opens for trial runs on Friday.
The terminal is being opened just in time for the expected surge in Chinese tourists, now that Thailand has waived visa fees.
In response to the waiver, the number of flights to and from China is expected to rise by 300 and there should be an estimated rise of 620,000 passengers per month.
AOT also plans to kick off the 7.8-billion-baht second phase of Suvarnabhumi Airport development by early 2024. The initial steps will include launching a bidding for the baggage conveyor system for the satellite terminal.
Meanwhile, the SAT-1 terminal will start providing services after its soft opening on Friday. The terminal was originally scheduled to open in 2021 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The commercial area of the terminal is 70% complete now that issues related to King Power have been sorted out.
AOT CEO Kirati Kitmanawat confirmed on Tuesday that SAT-1 is now ready to serve passengers at full capacity. The new terminal adds 216,000 square metres to the passenger handling area and includes 28 additional aircraft parking stands. This upgrade will boost the airport’s capacity to 60 million passengers per year from 45 million.
AOT expects SAT-1 to become fully operational after its initial one-month trial run.
During the trial basis, the terminal will be used by Thai AirAsia X and Thai Vietjet.
On Friday, Thai AirAsia X’s flight XJ 0761 will take off from the SAT-1 terminal for Shanghai. The airline has scheduled 14 flights daily to and from SAT-1 for the first week of operations.
Thai VietJet, meanwhile, will operate four flights per day from the terminal.
In addition to these two airlines, AOT is currently negotiating SAT-1 package deals with 10 other airlines, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, All Nippon Airways, Qatar Airways, Mahan Air, and Thai Airways.
AOT is also exploring incentives such as offering discounts on ground services, office rental fees and bridge fees, with proposals expected to be submitted to AOT’s board within a month.
Separately, the six AOT-operated airports across Thailand have started showing signs of recovery, with passenger arrivals rising to 70% of pre-Covid levels. This is primarily driven by arrivals from European, American and Central Asian markets, while the Chinese market has yet to fully recover.
Domestic numbers, meanwhile, have fully rebounded to 100%.
AOT believes its six airports will handle a total of 100 million passengers in fiscal 2023, and expects the numbers to rise to 150 million in 2024, beyond the pre-Covid figure of 142 million in 2019.
Suvarnabhumi Airport alone is projected to welcome 40 million passengers in 2023 and expand to 60 million passengers in the following year.