Bt1 billion needed to salvage inundated Don Mueang Airport: AoT


BANGKOK, Nov 17 – The Airports of Thailand (AoT) on Thursday said an estimated Bt1 billion is needed for the restoration of submerged Don Mueang Airport.

AoT President Anirut Thanomkulbutra said the airport authority will begin restoration of the western part of the flooded runway first as it will be used for take-off and landing of state flight services to facilitate the operation of officials in the area.

The rehabilitation work will later be expanded to other parts of the airport, including the commercial use zone, according to the AoT president.

Mr Anirut elaborated that the government allocated a budget of  Bt489 million for AoT to reopen the airport, which was closed due to severe flooding, while added budget will be provided by AoT itself for the operation, altogether estimated at Bt1 billion, to restore Don Mueang Airport to a condition to resume flight services.

He said AoT and Suvarnabhumi Airport are also launching a campaign better inform foreign tourists about Thailand’s flood situation and assuring them that the flooding at Don Mueang has nothing to do with flight services at the country’s main airport.

Suvarnabhumi Acting Director Somchai Sawasdipol said the airport has prepared a video presentation on its ongoing flight services which it is distributing to embassies and tour agencies, around the world, especially to those in Thailand’s major tourist targets such as China, Japan and European countries.

Next week, Mr Somchai said, airport personnel will meet with the Thai Airfreight Forwarders Association and airlines to outline measures to boost airfreight services and foreign tourist arrivals to the kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC) on Thursday agreed to open two parts of the big bag barrier at the Air Control Operations intersection in Don Mueang after negotiation with local residents, said Sompob Ra-ngabtook, deputy permanent secretary of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

FROC spokesman Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen met residents from Sai Mai and Lamlukka after they dismantled a four-metre part of the anti-flood barrier, trying to drain some floodwater from their neighbourhood, located outside the barrier.

After negotiation, the authorities agreed to open two five-metre sections of the barrier at Phahonyothin Road to allow some water to drain out and local residents are satisfied with the result.

The big bag barrier was installed to delay inflow of the northern run-off into the capital, so the authorities can manage to drain floodwaters already in the capital.

After opening the barrier to allow added inflow of water through the gaps, the BMA is closely monitoring the water situation below the barrier on Phahonyothin Road to ensure that the incoming amount of water can be handled.