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Suvarnabhumi Airport : Flight Status

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bangkok needs second airport according to Transport Minister

Thailand’s Transport Ministry has put their backing behind allowing Don Mueang Airport to operate international flights before the completion of a feasibility study due to increasing congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Transport Minister, Theera Haocharoen said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) study would only be completed after seven months at the earliest which would prove too late after Suvarnabhumi is already approaching its full capacity of 45 million passengers a year.

"This issue should be cleared before my term as transport minister comes to an end," he said.

The operator of both airports, AOT is in the process of finalising guidelines to resume operations at Don Mueang and plans to meet with international airlines on November 26 to discuss the move. Several airlines have reportedly voiced their opposition to the move, saying dual airports would only be efficient with good transport links.

Next year an Airport Rail Link running from Makkasan to Suvarnabhumi should be completed, although already behind schedule due to construction delays.

Thai AirAsia’s Chief Executive Officer Tassapon Bijleveld has refused any move to Don Mueang Airport saying, “Thai AirAsia has already moved our head office to a location near Suvarnabhumi”.

Bangkok Airways also said they plan to operate at Suvarnabhumi only for its domestic and international flights.

Honorary president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Wichit na Ranong said he disagreed with the plan without a high-speed train service linking the two airports in place and instead suggested Don Mueang be used as a special-purpose airport or for chartered flights only.

AOT vice chairman Narongsak Sangapong said Don Mueang should be used as a second international airport for the next few years until Suvarnabhumi could build a new terminal thereby increasing its capacity.

"We would need to consult with international airlines as the reopening will take time. Airlines will need to move back to Don Mueang and there will be new investments for ticket booths and passenger lounges," Mr Narongsak said.

Chaisak Angkasuwan, director-general of the Civil Aviation Department said airlines that returned to Don Mueang would be on a voluntary basis and that the Department would not provide any incentives for relocations.

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