Airports of Thailand defends move to build Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi terminal

Construction News
Artist’s rendition of the departure hall of the new Suvarnabhumi terminal, which has run into heavy criticism.

Airports of Thailand defends move to build Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi terminal

4 October 2018

The Transport Ministry has announced Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) has “nothing to prove” in the construction of Suvarnabhumi airport’s planned second passenger terminal, following criticism from engineers and architects citing the authority has deviated from the airport’s original master plan.

Acting permanent secretary for transport Chaiwat Thongkamkoon made the comments Wednesday after calling in the AoT to explain the controversy surrounding the new terminal.

“They do not need to draft any formal papers to explain the changes to the original master plan,” Mr Chaiwat said. “Master plans need to change to fit modern times. The amount of yearly passengers have increased, and aircraft have grown larger.”

The Architect Council of Thailand (ACT) and the Council of Engineers (CoE) had last month blasted the AoT for veering away from Suvarnabhumi’s original master plan, which was drafted in 1993.

The plan included the construction of only two terminals. This comprised the existing northern terminal and another southern terminal, identical to the existing one.

However, the AoT’s latest master plan — the fifth master plan — urgently included the construction of a new terminal to keep up with increasing passenger numbers.

AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said earlier that Suvarnabhumi’s 1993 master plan could only service up to 100 million passengers per year. The latest one is set to allow Thailand’s largest airport to service up to 150 million yearly passengers upon the completion of all five phases by 2030.

However, the ACT and CoE criticised the new terminal’s location — set to be placed adjacently to the existing passenger terminal, on the northeastern side.

They said the terminal will cause bottlenecks for departing planes.

Mr Nitinai said this will not happen, and the new terminal will not be in the way of any airport traffic.

Responding to claims the new terminal would not be able to take in an extra 30 million passengers per year, the airports chief said the terminal’s main purpose will be to directly connect passengers to planes instead of using shuttle buses.

It is set to be constructed directly next to 14 remote aircraft parking spaces on the northeastern side, which have only been accessible by bus. This would allow the airport to service passengers faster, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Nitinai said auctions for Suvarnabhumi’s duty-free and commercial-zone contracts can only commence once “the controversy surrounding the new terminal dies down.”


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