Airports of Thailand (AoT) claims new Suvarnabhumi terminal is justified
5 October 2018
Suvarnabhumi airport’s 42-billion-baht (US$1.3-billion) new terminal is justified despite the recent controversy surrounding its cost and design, Airports of Thailand (AoT) officials said on Thursday.
The extra terminal was recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to help service passengers during expansions of the airport’s existing terminal, said Anake Teeraviwatchai, the AoT’s senior vice-president for engineering and construction.
He rejected criticism from academics that the authority was wrongly using the ICAO’s consulting results from 2011 as an excuse to build the terminal.
It is due to be built on 400,000 square metres of land between Concourse A and Thai Airways’ maintenance centre and will be bordered by 14 aircraft parking spaces. The designated plot is now a field of grass.
Government anti-corruption committee member and ex-AoT board member Tortrakul Yomnak wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday that the 2011 results only called for the expansion of both ends of Suvarnabhumi’s existing terminal — not for the construction of a new terminal.
He also criticised the airport operator for “not being able to provide transparency” in the issue and “creating huge misunderstandings within the expert community and for the general public”.
Mr Anake said during a press visit to the new terminal’s proposed construction site that the ICAO had urged Suvarnabhumi to move its domestic operations to another site while the airport expands its existing terminal.
As per the current Suvarnabhumi master plan, the airport’s east- and west-wing expansions will be conducted separately in a bid to preserve the airport operational space.
The new terminal is due to open in 2021, according to the AoT. Mr Anake said the main difference from the ICAO’s recommendations is that it will serve both domestic and international passengers.
An excerpt from the ICAO’s final report was distributed to media during Thursday’s visit, pertaining to research conducted by US-based aviation consulting firm LeighFisher Inc.
It showed that the ICAO recommended building a standalone annex to the existing terminal’s Concourse A on the northeastern end of the terminal.
Mr Anake confirmed the new terminal was proposed in response to that recommendation. He added an automated people mover would be built to ferry passengers from the existing to new terminal.
Suvarnabhumi’s original master plan, launched in 1993, involved the construction of just two terminals, including one identical to the first but located to the south. The plan claimed it would allow the airport to have an annual capacity of 100 million passengers.
Its latest plan would bring the total annual capacity to 150 million passengers.