The six airports include Betong Airport in Yala province (Bt1 billion budget to be complete in 2015), Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport (Bt1 billion budget for runway expansion and construction of a new terminal to be finished within three years), Nakhon Ratchasima Airport (Bt400 million for runway expansion of 2,500 meters), Ubon Ratchathani Airport (Bt300 million budget for development to support large aircraft), Udon Thani Airport (Bt270 million to improve its passenger terminal within two years), and Narathiwat Airport.
Voradej said the airport improvements are in accord with the government’s policy to make Thailand a center to connect transport among ASEAN people, while benefits are to be offered as an incentive to attract airlines to use Thailand’s airports.
He said service systems in all airports will also be improved, while passengers will be expected to spend no more than one hour at an airport, from the current almost three hours.
On a related matter, as ASEAN member states reached a multilateral agreement on air transport liberalization, he said all countries are expected to ratify the agreement before the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) takes effect in 2015, despite some problems on the matter in Laos, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
According to Voradej, more than 10 airlines have recently registered with Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department for aviation business operations. The trend continues to rise, he said. Most of them provide charter flights.