Don Mueang Airport to partially reopen in January

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BANGKOK, Nov 25 – A budget of Bt490 million approved by the Cabinet, will be used for restore the eastern runway of Don Mueang Airport, expected to reopen at the end of January for military aircraft, said Flying Officer Anirut Thanomkulbutra, president of Airports of Thailand (AoT).

AoT said the Bt1 billion restoration of the airport would be carried out in a two-phase plan.

The first phase, restoring the runway, includes several processes including cleaning, fixing runway and electricity system and pre-opening inspection.

Rehabilitation work will start on the eastern runway while the western runway and AoT headquarters will be restored with a budget of Bt445 million later. The Department of Civil Aviation Operations will certify safety standard before it reopens.

In the second phase, the terminal and cargo buildings will be restored.

Flying Officer Anirut said the airport will be fully operational after the floodwater is completely gone.

Currently, airport officials and workers are draining 300,000 cubic metres of water per day out of the airport to surrounding canals.

He said that if the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and government agencies related to water management could drain more water in the north of the capital to canals, AoT may consider pumping water out of the water-clogged areas in order to reopen the airport earlier.

The company cannot pump floodwater out of the airport now for fear of adding to nearby residents’ suffering.

In addition, FO Anirut said additional measures against possible flooding in the future may be taken by applying measures used at Suvarnabhumi Airport to speed up restoring passenger confidence.

Because Suvarnabhumi Airport has an efficient flood-prevention system, he said, it is definitely spared the current flooding.

However, the number of passengers has dropped almost nine per cent due to the flood crisis.

It is expected the overall passenger numbers this year will be around 46 million, instead of the expected 47 million, he added.