AoT claims contractor fails to cool terminal

Construction News

New row hits airport over temperatures

Another contractor at Suvarnabhumi airport is feeling the heat of legal proceedings for allegedly failing to comply with its contractual obligations.

The board of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) yesterday ordered final negotiations to be held with a joint venture company to meet its obligations to supply chilled water for the airport’s air-conditioning system.

The board claims the company has failed for several months to keep the vast chilled water system at the right temperature and had not fixed broken equipment, which had compounded the problem and made the terminal uncomfortably hot for travellers.

AoT’s board yesterday ordered airport management to approach the company, District Cooling System and Power Plant Co (Dcap), a utility subsidiary of PTT Plc, to resolve the problem or face the threat of having its contract scrapped.

Dcap is a joint venture of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, PTT Plc and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority with respective stakes of 35%, 35% and 30%. The company also supplies electricity to the airport.

It is contracted to cap the temperature of the chilled water for the terminal’s air-conditioning system at 5.5C. The AoT board claimed it had failed to do so since April. As well, three of its 10 water chillers had broken down this month, further increasing the terminal’s temperature.

AoT president Serirat Prasutanond said the passenger terminal of Bangkok‘s Suvarnabhumi airport was just not cool enough.

“It is very hot in Suvarnabhumi airport. At immigration checkpoints especially, the temperature is as high as 30 degrees Celsius,” Mr Serirat said.

“AoT is the owner of the place and it must solve the problem right away, otherwise passengers will feel inconvenienced.”

The board recently decided to spend 700 million to 800 million baht on increasing air-conditioning spots in the passenger terminal to solve the problem but Dcap objected, claiming this would violate its contract.

“So the AoT board ordered management to study if the contract can be amended or terminated as it considers AoT is at a disadvantage,” Mr Serirat said.

Under its 30-year contract, Dcap has up to 240 days to fix the problem or pay a monthly fine of about 2million baht to AoT.

Dcap was the only chilled water supplier to the airport but Mr Serirat said AoT could take over the responsibility.

The AoT board will appoint a new chairman of Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel at its next meeting on Dec 7 . The new chairman would be expected to reverse the hotel’s losses, Mr Serirat said.

The new chairman will replace ACM Raden Puengpak who has resigned.

The hotel is a joint venture of AoT, Thai Airways International and Krung Thai Bank which hold respective stakes of 60%, 30% and 10%.

The airport hotel suffered badly from the seizure of the airport by political protesters two years ago and today attracts few customers.


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