Suvarnabhumi Airport Map

Suvarnabhumi Airport : Flight Status

Saturday, April 26, 2008

AoT needs to act at once

When the chairman of the Airline Operators Committee recently described Suvarnabhumi Airport as "being in a coma" he was not referring to flight operations, which have always been safe and efficient.

What Jaiyavat Navaraj had in mind was the seeming inability of the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) to fix problems and get the trouble-plagued facility running properly. In other words, the AoT needs to pay less attention to the matter of raising its revenues and more to putting its house in order. And while it is doing that, it should also address the issue of putting a few other deserving houses in order, too.

For, if the airport authorities are sleeping on the job, the same cannot be said of residents living in housing estates around the airport. They have always been entitled to some sympathy for the extreme levels of noise, mental distress and for having to put up with the appalling delaying tactics employed by the AoT. But "taking back the sky" as they put it, is not the solution. Such direct action is wrong and fast losing them friends.

Their release of more than 100 balloons into the night sky early in January delayed flights by more than two hours and cost the AoT in excess of 19 million baht in compensation for airlines affected by the delays while flight paths were cleared. Lat Krabang police reacted by sending letters to all 32 communities around the airport, warning them not to repeat such an act. Had the law been fully enforced, those responsible could have been fined and jailed for up to seven years.

It may well be that only a tiny minority is resorting to civil disobedience, but it is harming the cause of all those with legitimate claims. And, on Tuesday, this embittered minority took further steps to damage their image. Fortunately, the airport control tower quickly spotted the 10 or so lanterns being floated in restricted airspace close to flight paths. Police were alerted and two people arrested. In some countries, such behaviour would be perceived as acts of sabotage or terrorism.

Had it not been for foot-dragging by the AoT, this could all have been resolved long ago. In fact, it should have been settled even before construction of the airport began. That was before some of those now demanding compensation had moved into the area and even before the Thaksin government had earmarked Suvarnabhumi as a future aerotropolis and province, causing land values to rise and prompting an influx of hopefuls.

The present outcry is from three groups of people. First up are those who, somewhat naively, thought that buying land and building a house next to a busy international airport a few years ago was a good idea, but are now having second thoughts. Some claim not to have known about the airport, which beggars belief. Joining them are speculators who invested in land and houses around Suvarnabhumi, expecting to make a handsome profit. A small but vocal number of these see cash as the only solution. Not soundproofing or necessarily moving to a quieter location. Just money.

The third group affected by aircraft noise are the long-term residents. They are fully deserving of our sympathy and entitled to generous compensation and having their houses soundproofed. The Surayud Chulanont cabinet set out a compensation framework last May which favoured those most affected by airport noise and disruption. What is needed now is a neutral arbiter to ensure the fairness of such awards.

If the AoT cannot handle it, the job should be given to someone who can. And if awards are contested, let the matter be settled without any of the prevailing hysteria in a court of law. That is why such courts exist.

Thailand to expand Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport

Thailand plans to spend about 3.7 billion baht ($117 million) this year on expanding its 18-month-old Suvarnabhumi airport, officials said Friday, building a third runway for the troubled hub.

Since opening in September 2006, Bangkok's $3-billion international airport has been plagued by problems ranging from cracks in the runways to complaints about safety and sanitation.

Air Marshal Chana U-sathaporn, president of Suvarnabhumi operator Airport of Thailand (AoT), said about 10 upgrade projects were in the pipeline.

'The expansion plan was suggested by Transport Minister Santi Prompat ... We have not discussed it in detail yet, but the ministry wants (runway construction) to begin within this year,' Chana told Agence France-Presse.

AoT will spend about 3.6 billion baht on the third runway, while 114 million baht will also be spent this year on studies for future projects, which include the construction of a new passenger terminal in 2010, he said.

Suvarnabhumi airport was the pet project of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra but it eventually opened 10 days after the military staged a coup and overthrew him.

Just six months after the airport's triumphant launch, authorities re-opened Bangkok's nearly century-old Don Muang airport to domestic flights to ease crowds at Suvarnabhumi.

The new airport can handle 45 million passengers a year, and numbers are already creeping up towards that figure.

Thaksin's allies were voted back into government in elections in December last year.

An official at the transport ministry, who did not wish to be named, said the new government wanted to move all domestic flights back to Suvarnabhumi.

'The government has a clear single-airport policy,' he told AFP. 'Don Muang will only be used for charter flights, air shows, for example. That will happen in the future, although we cannot say exactly when that can be.'

Source :

Political climate holds key to better business outlook

All thanks to a better political climate following the general election in December.

The king of duty-free shopping - as he likes to be known in Thailand and abroad - Vichai has started to woo back some of the world's luxury brands, such as Rolex, which had previously turned down an offer to open shops at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

He has also approached the chief executive of Korea's Lotte Duty Free, one of the four duty-free retailers at Incheon International Airport, for a partnership to develop a new shopping and entertainment complex near Suvarnabhumi Airport.

In other words, Vichai has regained some confidence lost over the past one-and-a-half years following the September 2006 coup.

Cases filed by King Power Group of Companies seeking restoration of the two duty-free and commercial-retailing contracts previously terminated by Airports of Thailand (AOT) for a massive compensation of Bt67 billion, are pending in court.

Vichai hopes the ongoing dispute with the previous AOT board will be settled over the next few months so that he can come up with clear business plans for the second half of the year.

As a previous duty-free outlet operator at Don Mueang airport - now serving only domestic routes - King Power got its duty-free retailing contract extended when Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in late 2006.

In the commercial-retailing space, the company won the contract in a bidding where Central, Imperial, U Chuliang and DFS groups also took part.

Vichai hopes the country's political atmosphere will remain conducive for growth and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thai Airways International and other related public and private sector bodies will join forces to promote the tourism sector.

In his opinion, good facilities for duty-free shopping are important for the country's competitiveness as a tourist destination, especially for emerging markets such as China.

In addition, the duty-free business has become a major source of income for new airports. For instance, Singapore's Changi international airport now earns 60 per cent of its income from non-aero activities, which includes a big chunk from duty-free shopping.

Changi was also ranked fourth in terms of duty-free sales, which are estimated to be more than US$400 million (Bt12.6 billion).

The latest statistics gathered by King Power show that London's Heathrow airport was the world's No 1, with duty-free sales estimated to be more than $900 million for 2006.

In second place is the United Arab Emirates' Dubai at more than $600 million.

Hong Kong International Airport and Suvarnabhumi plus Don Mueang were ranked tenth and 11th, respectively, with sales of more than $300 million.

In Thailand, non-aero activities generate only 40 per cent of AOT's income. Thus, it becomes necessary to boost revenues from duty-free retail outlets and other commercial non-aero activities.

Vichai said the government should also encourage hundreds of thousands of Thai students and workers returning from abroad to buy duty-free goods upon arrival in Thailand instead of buying them from abroad.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A little less noise, please

In all likelihood Songkran revelry will hit its peak on this last day of the festival, with people out in the streets throwing water at one another, screaming with delight and probably dancing to upbeat tunes blaring from loudspeakers.

It is altogether possible that the whole of Thailand may be so engrossed in the water festival that few or none will realise that today is International Noise Awareness Day.

The campaign is aimed at making people aware of the harmful effects on people's health from exposure to excessive noise over a prolonged period of time. Of course, it is understandable if the event has hardly been heard of here in Thailand. Our country is known for being a land of sanuk where the fun-loving attitude is helped along with happy noise, be it music or just din. Especially in Bangkok, noise seems to be everywhere, in department stores and even at temples during fairs. Public parks are no exception. Instead of serving as oases of tranquility in this restless urbanity, many parks allow raucous activities to be held, most of which rely on the use of loudspeakers as if in competition with one another.

While a survey by the World Health Organisation some 10 years ago found that 21.4% of Bangkok's population who lived alongside roads suffered from "sensory neural hearing loss", there has been no comprehensive study on the extent of noise-related health problems in Thailand. A number of studies suggest that up to 70% of people may be suffering from some form of hearing disorder, oftentimes without them knowing it.

The undeniable truth, however, is that noise pollution, dubbed a modern plague, is a health hazard. According to WHO, excessive noise not only causes hearing loss but can also lead to such serious illnesses as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.

It is estimated that safe noise levels for households should not exceed 50 to 55 decibel outdoors and 35dB indoors. This can be gauged against the mark that a normal conversation should register at about 60dB. Sounds louder than 85dB may damage your ears.

An exposure to noise levels of 100dB for longer than 15 minutes, and 103dB for more than seven minutes can trigger hearing loss.

The obvious problem, however, is how to know what level of noise you are hearing, or suffering from? While the police have a law against the use of loudspeakers in public places without prior approval from concerned agencies - which they can use against noise polluters - it is often only cited against protesters in the streets. Since there is no official rule that lets people know how much noise is acceptable or allowable at which time of day and in which particular area, people usually have to take the matter into their own hands. This irritation has led to a great many unnecessary disputes between neighbours, even murder.

The continuing dispute between inhabitants around Suvarnabhumi Airport and the authorities over aircraft noise is one example that this relatively new form of pollution has yet to be taken seriously. One argument against compensation for the affected groups is they will get used to it!

Studies, however, have shown that we actually don't. Our health suffers quietly. And it will decline gradually.

B73bn plan to expand airport

The Transport Ministry is pushing ahead with expansion plans for Suvarnabhumi airport with 10 projects worth 73 billion baht.

At least two projects will be implemented this year, including the construction of the third runway and hiring of the Project Management Consultant group (PMC).

Other projects which include the construction of an automated people mover, car park and a noise pollution reduction scheme will be implemented over five years.

It was agreed that construction of a six billion baht domestic terminal at Suvarnabhumi should proceed. A source said the expansion scheme also sent a signal that the government was ready to close Don Mueang airport.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2nd phase expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport starts soon

BANGKOK, April 16 (TNA) - Amid sharp increases in the number of passengers and airlines using the Thai capital's Suvarnabhumi airport, concerned authorities are now ready to implement the second phase of construction to enlarge the airport, a senior Airports of Thailand (AoT) official said Wednesday.

Somchai Sawasdipol, chairman of a working committee responsible for solving noise pollution at Suvarnabhumi airport, located in Bangkok's neighbouring province of Samut Prakan, said more than 42 million passengers used facilities at the airport in 2007 while its full capacity is at 45 million.

There is a need to expand the airport to cater to the rising demands of passengers and airlines, said Mr. Somchai. AoT will speed solving noise pollution at the airport and prepare for the phase 2 construction.

Designs for the taxiway for phase 2 are now prepared while a public hearing noise pollution from people living near the airport will be held before the construction begins, he said.

The AoT committee is expected to discuss on the noise pollution issue during its next meeting, Mr. Somchai said.

He said that there is an aviation law in Thailand which forbids both building construction and trees within seven kilometres of an airport, but it has not been respected, causing the AoT to pay a large amount of money as compensation to people living near airports in the past.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Expansion of Suvarnabhumi will see Thai airlines return

Three Thai airlines, currently operating out of Don Mueang airport, are preparing to transfer their domestic services back to Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Airline executives claimed that the initial move to Don Mueang was a result of inadequate resources at Suvarnabhumi.

However, the impending completion of the expansion project at Suvarnabhumi will attract the original defectors to return, according to the Thai News Agency.

National carrier THAI Airways is prepared to return, in support of their single airport policy for the benefit of customers. President Apinan Sumanaseni recognised that the shift of domestic operations for THAI could be completed without a fuss.

Budget carriers Nok Air and Orient Thai are also planning a return.

CEO of Nok Air, Patee Sarasin, acknowledged the willingness to return to Suvarnabhumi, but maintained that the shift is contingent upon improvement of the congestion problems and a commitment to escalating the airport’s flight capacity.

Udom Tantiprasongchai, CEO of Orient Thai, claimed that both Orient Thai and One-Two-Go have no individual preference, but required clarity on the government policy to prevent uncertainty.

He did add that the efficiency and adequate facilities at Suvarnabhumi provide strong incentives for carriers to operate from there.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.K

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What economic problems?

A 16 per cent rise in Songkran air travel indicates revellers will party hearty despite the sluggish economy, reduced purchasing power and inflation


An estimated 1.53 million people are expected to be flying through Bangkok's two airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, during the Songkran holiday season, an increase of more than 16 per cent year-on-year.

The rise indicates that the sluggish economy, reduced purchasing power and higher cost of living spurred by skyrocketing oil and food prices, are not dampening Songkran revellers' travel spirit.

For most employees the holiday runs from April 12-16 but many people are planning to extend their vacations right through April 20.

About 1.31 million people are expected to pass through Suvarnabhumi Airport from April 9-18, while 224,000 would go through Don Mueang in the same period, according to the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT).

In other words, there would be 17,817 more passengers going through Suvarnabhumi each day during the period, and 4,420 more a day through Don Mueang.

The bulk of passenger traffic through Suvarnabhumi is on international flights, at 1.11 million, with 198,105 on domestic routes. All the passengers through Don Mueang are those on domestic flights operated by three carriers: Thai Airways International, Nok Airlines and One-Two-Go Airlines.

The three are adding 26 daily flights to their normal level of 140.

Carriers are adding 425 additional flights through Suvarnabhumi during the 10-day holiday period: 395 international and 30 domestic.

In total, Suvarnabhumi would be handling 7,785 take-offs and landings in the 10-day period, or 778 flights per day, up from 743 on a normal day.

China Eastern Airlines has requested the largest number of flights through Suvarnabhumi, up to 152 more during the holiday period.

The two busiest days for Suvarnabhumi would be April 12 and 17 when 104 and 76 extra flights were booked, respectively.

Thai AirAsia reports higher bookings for its flights in the forthcoming holiday season.

"This year's Songkran bookings are slightly better than the same period last year. Eventually, our flights will be full when the holidays come," TAA chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hijacker take Biman Bangladesh Airline flight to Bangkok

Hijacker take Biman Bangladesh Airline flight to BangkokBangkok - A hijacker on Tuesday forced a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight from Malaysia to land at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport, media reports said.

The hijacker, reportedly a Malay native, was taken into custody after the plane landed in Bangkok, said the Bangkok Post online news service.

The pilots first asked for an emergency landing at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok's new international airport, but airport officials asked them to land instead at Don Mueang, now a domestic airport.

The plane BG 042 reportedly carried about 40 to 50 passengers.(dpa)

Zip to the Airport

Forget about battling through Bangkok traffic to catch your filght. From December you will be able to check in

at the City Air Terminal in Makkasan and even get your boarding pass

Zip to the Airport

Riding a fast Skytrain to the airport will soon be a new lifestyle for outbound travellers. The long-awaited Airport Link will be functional by this December.

Travellers will have the option of checking in their luggage at the soon-to-be-opened City Air Terminal (CAT) in the Makkasan area before boarding the rapid train to Suvarnabhumi Airport with their carry-on bags.

The CAT, 270 metres by 70 metres, has three floors where passengers can board a train as well as check in, receive a boarding pass and leave their luggage on the third floor. The luggage will be transferred to their flight. The second floor will be for arriving passengers and the first a parking lot for 200 cars.

The luggage will be transferred by Suvarnabhumi Airport Express (SA-Express) and placed in a designated coach while passengers will board other coaches on the same train.

A source says the Makkasan Station is expected to be completed by October this year.

Finishing touches

The main structure is already finished. Workers are now decorating each floor, while the modern-style roof of the station is nearly complete. Motorists on the expressways near the station can already see the attractive design of the roof.

The four rail tracks for the SA-Express and Suvarnabhumi Airport City Line and another train serving commuters are well into construction.

The tracks will allow trains to reach speeds of up to 160kph. Express journeys will take 15 minutes and commuter trips 27 minutes.

The station is part of the Airport Rail Link Project, expected to be officially opened by December.

The estimated cost of the project is Bt25.9 billion.

Engineer Banchongsak Panthong said last month that 78.5 per cent of the construction had been completed and 82 per cent of electrical and mechanical work.

By Wannapa Phetdee

Daily Xpress


Rail link

Express Service

>> Suvarnabhumi Airport - Makkasan (City

Air Terminal -

interchange with MRT Blue Line's Phetchaburi Station)

Commuter Service

>> Suvarnabhumi Airport - Lad Krabang - Thub Chang - Hua Mark - Ramkhamhaeng - Makkasan (City Air Terminal - interchange with MRT Blue Line's Phetchaburi Station) - Ratchaprarop - Phayathai (interchange with BTS Sukhumvit Line's Phayathai Station

Race to contain fire at garbage site near Suvarnabhumi Airport

A blaze is continuing at a large garbage dump near Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international airport for the fourth day Monday.

More than 100 firefighting vehicles and heavy machinery were dispatched to fight the fire which had spread to over 80 rai (32 acres) around the garbage dump.

No casualties were reported so far, but firefighters were still battling the blaze.

Local authorities had ordered concerned agencies to contain the fire quickly for fear that smoke could disrupt air traffic operations.

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