SRT denies closure of Bangkok’s Airport Rail Link

The State Railway of Thailand board yesterday denied a rumour it will soon close down the Airport Rail Link system over liquidity problems and a shortage of spare parts.

Supoj Saplom, the transport permanent secretary and chairman of the SRT board, dismissed as untrue a rumour that has been circulating that the liquidity problems and spare parts shortage would force the Airport Rail Link system, which connects inner Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi airport, to cease operations in a few months.

Mr Supoj said the number of passengers had been increasing.

The Airport Rail Link is also not suffering any liquidity crunch because it shares its financial accounts with the SRT which ensures that it has sufficient cash flows, Mr Supoj said.

He also denied that many Airport Rail Link employees were resigning. He said the employees viewed their jobs as being secure.

According to Mr Supoj, the increase in passenger numbers on the link recently has been a direct result of the company’s decision to slash the fare for the system’s Express Line from 150 baht to 90 baht per trip. The number of passengers on the Express Line has increased from 300 a day to around 2,000 a day.

“For this reason, it is impossible for us to cease our services. We are also in the middle of constructing the link between the system and the BTS skytrain, as well as the subway system at Phetchaburi station,” he said.

Suchatvee Suwansawat, the dean of the Engineering Faculty at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang and a director of the SRT Electric Train Co which runs the Airport Rail Link system, backed up Mr Supoj’s statement.

He said the number of Airport Rail Link passengers last month on both the express and ordinary services topped 998,000.

Meanwhile, Somchai Sujjapongse, the director-general of the General State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO), said that the SEPO has proposed to the economic team of the Pheu Thai Party-led coalition that the Airport Rail Link should be expanded to run to Pattaya City and Chon Buri.

Such an expansion could help the system attract more domestic and international tourists between Bangkok and the resort city.

The SEPO has also recommended that the Airport Rail Link should be connected to the old Don Mueang international airport as well, Mr Somchai said.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/250010/srt-denies-closure-of-airport-rail-link