BANGKOK, March 29 – Thailand’s Ministry of Transport urged the Airports of Thailand (AoT) to maximise capacity of Don Mueang Airport as Suvarnabhumi Airport now handles an excessive number of passengers, Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sittipan said on Thursday.
Don Mueang Airport can accommodate more flights and negotiations between the AoT and airlines are underway to woo more airlines to relocate their services to Thailand’s former international gateway, now mainly used for domestic flights, he said.
Don Mueang Airport has the full capacity to serve 300 flights per day while currently, it accommodates only 120 flights per day, Mr Chatchart said.
The minister also instructed all air transport agencies to be prepared for the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
The minister made the statement to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the air transport department under the supervision of the transport ministry.
Initially, a study will be conducted on how many air passengers will increase and basic infrastructures such as Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion must be carried out to address problems of the crowded airport.
The Air Navigation Act should be amended in response to the liberalisation to boost investment among the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said.
Airport personnel will be trained and the air traffic system will be upgraded to serve more flights.
Meanwhile, Anirut Thanomkulbutra, president of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) said Suvarnabhumi Airport accommodates almost 50 million passengers per year despite its capacity of 45 million passengers per year.
During the Thai New Year festival in April, the number of passengers is expected to increase by 10,000 people per day from the existing daily passenger load of 150,000-160,000 people.
The AoT president said he assigned airport officials to be prepared for the higher number of passengers during the festival period with strict security measures.