The Bangkok hub lost both main and backup power supplies to its control tower, which failed for an hour, the longest outage at a world-class airport in 45 years. A total of 49 flights were affected; 21 take-offs and 15-landings were delayed and 13 flights were rerouted or sent back to their originating airport.
A Saudi Arabian cargo plane, one of 10 flights diverted to U-Tapao, sits on the tarmac waiting clearance to return to Suvarnabhumi.
The incident further inconvenienced international airlines that have been struggling since June 11 with the 60-day maintenance shutdown of one of Suvarnabhumi’s two runways. That has delayed about 100 flights a day.
Rear Adm. Pangpol Sirisangkhai, commander of Royal Naval Air Division, said none of the 10 U-Tapao-diverted flights deplaned passengers at the military-operated airfield. Planes simply refueled and waited for Suvarnabhumi’s radar to come back online, then flew back.
Bangkok airport officials told the media planes had to be diverted to U-Tapao and other cities, and not Don Muang International Airport, because Bangkok’s other airport uses the same radar system.