BANGKOK, Feb 3 – Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department (CAD) and the Airports of Thailand (AoT) have agreed to jointly hold a ceremony to officially reopen Don Mueang Airport on March 2 to show the facility’s readiness for commercial use after last year’s flood crisis submerged the airport’s runway, according to the CAD chief.
Civil Aviation Department Director General Woradet Hanprasert said here Friday that Nok Air, one of the country’s budget airlines, would resume its services at Don Mueang airport on March 6
Flight operations at the airport ceased Oct 25 after its runways were flooded. After the floodwater receded, restoration work was begun, he said, adding that Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AEROTHAI) has been repaired and installed new aircraft control equipment.
AoT will restore the electricity system and begin maintenance work on the eastern runway, he said.
Mr Woradet said the department is confident that the airlines which operated at Don Mueang before the flood forced them to relocate temporarily at Suvarnabhumi Airport–including Nok Air, Orient Thai Airlines and charter flights — would resume service at Don Mueang.
There are also additional airlines which expressed interest in using Don Mueang as an operations base, including Thai AirAsia.
THAI Smile Air, Thai Airways International (THAI)’s new sub-brand carrier which has scheduled its inaugural flight July 1 and is expected to use Don Mueang as its main airport.
The CAD chief said he was confident that in the near future, Don Mueang could serve more than 1 million passengers annually and lighten the load on Suvarnabhumi.
During the flood crisis, some airlines shifted their operations from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi which now serves on average 47 million passengers per year, higher than its potential capacity of 45 million passengers annually.
Once Suvarnabhumi began its second-phase construction, he said, Don Mueang airport would be able to ease Suvarnabhumi airport’s passenger load.