Don Mueang Airport to reclaim eastern runway

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BANGKOK, Nov 22 –  A plan to restore Don Mueang Airport, mainly used for domestic flights, will start at the eastern runway where floodwaters are receding and is expected to be functional again within one or two months, according to Somchai Sawasdeepon, senior executive vice president of Airports of Thailand (AoT).

The Don Mueang recovery plan is divided into two phases – the first to recover the eastern runway, connecting the premises of the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters and the second to restore the western runway, adjacent Bangkok’s Don Mueang district.

An initial survey on the airport flood level found it has receded on the eastern side, the airport’s highest area.

Floodwater will be pumped out to the western side of the airport and then the runway surface will be rebuilt for a total distance of 3.7 kilometres with a 30cm layer of asphaltic concrete.

It is estimated that Bt480 million will be needed for restoration of the eastern runway, mostly used for military aircraft.

The low-lying western side of the airport, where floodwater is about 40-50cm deep, will not be restored until floodwaters in the Don Mueang area recedes, in order to avoid a negative impact on nearby residents.  It is estimated that about Bt1 billion will be needed to rebuild the western runway, completely destroyed, as well as the terminal building, baggage-handling system, information system, electricity and water supply system as well as a cargo building.

“It will take about two to three months to restore the entire airport with an overall budget of about Bt1.5 billion”, he added.

Mr Somchai said that a working committee is discussing restoration details, and construction of an additional flood prevention system at Don Mueang.

He suggested that the airport’s facilities should be improved to accommodate international flight services as Suvarnabhumi Airport is now encountering congestion thanks to the steady growth of airline passenger volume, and it recently surpassed its designed capacity.