Three international airports, in Bangkok and Phuket, are now being upgraded and Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Songkhla airports will also be expanded to handle the growing number of air travellers, Airports of Thailand said on Monday.
Budgets had already been allocated for the expansion of capacity at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok and for Phuket International Airport, AoT chairman Sqn Ldr Sita Divari said.
Second phase construction at Suvarnabhumi airport would be completed in 2017, lifting its capacity to 60 million passengers a year, up from the current 45 million.
The AoT was working to resume the 100 per cent utilisation of Don Mueang, where only 30-40% of the airport is in now in use.
It was expected the second terminal at Don Mueang would be reopened in the second quarter of 2014. There were also plans to improve domestic terminal and cargo buildings. When it is in full operation again, the airport would be able to serve 30 million passengers a year, he said.
Phuket airport is building a new international terminal, expected to open in mid-2014 and increase passanger handling capacity to 12.5 million a year, almost double the 6.5 million capacity.
Development was also planned for Chiang Mai to improve the airport’s capacity as a hub for the northern region. Feasibility studies were underway. Mae Fah Luang airport in Chiang Rai would also be improved.
Hat Yai airport in Songkhla would also be upgraded, to supplement Phuket international airport.
He said the AoT is in discussion with the Civil Aviation Department, part of the Transport Ministry, for the joint development on airports under its responsibility, particularly airports in northeastern provinces which are gateways to neighbouring countries.
The number of people passing through the six AoT airports had increased continuously in 2013, with passenger numbers rising by 20.34 per cent in September to a total of 86.13 million. In 2012, traffic rose by 7.87 per cent and 15.46 per cent in 2011.