Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin has unveiled plans for the construction of a second international airport in Chiang Mai to address growing aviation demands and bolster tourism in the region.
During his visit to Chiang Mai on Sunday, he met local residents, living in the vicinity of Chiang Mai airport to hear the potential impact of the plan to extend flight hours after midnight.
Local residents expressed their concerns about the potential disruptions to their lives if flight operations are extended into the late hours. Despite previous assistance from the Airports of Thailand (AOT), residents are seeking further support and resolution to this issue.
The prime minister also met with Chiang Mai airport executives in Chiang Mai to discuss the possibility of extending late-night flight operations. It was clarified that such an extension could be implemented within the existing legal framework.
Additionally, the Prime Minister emphasized that the AOT should not only consider environmental impact assessments (EIAs) but also take appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of noise pollution on local communities.
The discussion also touched upon the construction of the new airport, which is estimated to cost around 70 billion baht and take seven years to complete.
Srettha raised questions about the overall cost-effectiveness and benefits to the public compared to the current airport, which generates an annual profit of 2 billion baht. According to AOT reports, once the new airport is built, it is expected to yield approximately 3 billion baht in annual profits and accommodate up to 20 million passengers per year, in line with the set targets.
Kirati Kitmanawat, the AOT director affirmed the necessity of extending late-night flight operations to accommodate Chinese, Korean, and Japanese tourists.
Clear compensation measures are in place, including offering repairs for homes affected, ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 baht. If residents experience severe disruptions, AOT is prepared to buy affected homes at a fair market price.
The Prime Minister conducted an inspection of Chiang Mai Airport, where plans are underway for phase one of development, including the construction of new buildings and the expansion of taxiways to accommodate increased flight activity. These developments are expected to be completed by the year 2029. (TNA)