AoT denies runway repairs cause flight delays

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BANGKOK, June 13 —  The Airports of Thailand (AoT) on Wednesday denied a claim by airline operators that its runway repairs have caused air traffic congestion and flight delays, according to Suvarnabhumi Airport Director Somchai Sawasdeepon.

AoT has closed a 1.65km section of the eastern runway since Monday for repairs and the maintenance is expected to be completed Aug 9.

Mr Somchai said that since the repair works began, only one flight—belonging to United Airlines— was forced to change its destination from Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang Airport and the main reason was due to the amount of aircraft fuel.

He said that according to the monitors, the delay caused by the runway maintenance was only 30-40 minutes on average, which was not beyond the standard.

He added that the repair work would take around 40 days.

At present, there are some 80,000 passengers using Suvarnabhumi Airport each day, 20 per cent lower than the high season passenger load of 100,000 passengers per day.

Mr Somchai led media to see the new security screening checkpoint area at the international departure lounge located at the eastern side of terminal.

The new security screening checkpoint would officially open at 4am on Friday, he said.

The director said the opening of the new security screening checkpoint would help facilitate the passengers as it has 1,600 square metres space and passengers who bring prohibited objects such as liquids could hand over the banned substances to their families and friends who come to see them off.

Moreover, 12 new baggage X-ray machines have been installed including two 3-D scanners and two body scanners, he said. With the new facilities, screening processes could be 2.5 times faster or 3,600 passengers per hour.