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Government targets 150 million passengers at Suvarnabhumi airport

suvarnabhumi bangkok one march 1 2024

The government intends to more than double the annual capacity of Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan to 150 million passengers, as announced by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. Currently accommodating 60 million passengers, the main airport will also have a third runway added, enabling it to handle 90 flights per hour by October this year, up from the current 60 flights per hour. The PM unveiled these upgrades at an event outlining the government’s airport enhancement plans.

Although the exact cost and funding details for the expansion were not specified, Mr. Srettha, who also serves as the finance minister, expressed ambitions for Suvarnabhumi to rank among the top 50 airports globally by next year, aiming for a position in the top 20 within the next five years. In response to complaints about long lines at immigration and check-in counters from passengers and tourists on social media, the government plans to boost Don Mueang airport in Bangkok’s annual capacity from 30 million to 50 million passengers. This expansion will include the construction of a new terminal for international passengers and the enlargement of existing facilities.

Furthermore, the government will focus on enhancing regional airports to support tourism, a pivotal sector of Southeast Asia’s economy, and establishing new airports in popular tourist destinations like the Andaman region. Specific plans include increasing Phuket airport’s capacity to 18 million passengers annually from the current 12.5 million, along with considerations for a new airport. Chiang Mai’s airport in the north is slated to double its capacity to 16.5 million by 2029.

Prime Minister Srettha emphasized the potential for Thailand to become an aviation hub, citing the country’s strategic location in the Asia Pacific region and the benefits from the ASEAN open skies policy as key factors driving these initiatives. The government aims to leverage the capabilities and resources of Thais to develop existing airports and invest in the expansion of new airport projects to solidify Thailand’s position as an aviation hub.

State-controlled Airports of Thailand (AOT), which operates the nation’s six major airports, is planning to invest approximately 100 billion baht (US$2.8 billion) between 2024 and 2029 for capacity augmentation. This investment, primarily financed through internal cash flow, underscores the country’s commitment to robust airport infrastructure development.

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