Suvarnabhumi expansion pegged back to master plan

Construction News

Plan to rush building of second terminal, third runway cancelled
Airports of Thailand Plc has been ordered to adhere to its original expansion plan for Suvarnabhumi airport, and has cancelled plans to accelerate construction of a new passenger terminal and third runway. (Photo by Somporn Thapanachai)

The board of Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) has cancelled plans to accelerate the expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport after the government ordered it to adhere to a Bangkok airport master plan and prepare a proper impact assessment.

AOT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the AOT board on Wednesday resolved to return to the old expansion plan approved by the cabinet on Aug 24, 2010.

That complies with Transport Minister Prajin Juntong’s letter to the AOT on April 9. The letter referred to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s order on March 31 that the airport expansion comply with the old cabinet resolution in 2010.

Consequently, the AOT board has cancelled its plan to build a second passenger terminal at a cost of  27.68 billion baht and a 2,900 metre stretch of a third runway designed to be 3,700 metres long.

The government wants the second passenger terminal adjusted to comply with the master plan for the development of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, and the third runway to undergo an environmental and health impact assessment before construction.

The incorporation of the second passenger terminal into the Bangkok airport master plan would take 3-6 months and the project could then be proposed to the cabinet for approval, probably early next year, Mr Nitinai said.

The AOT had previously planned to start construction early next year, but this will now be delayed to 2018 with completion in 2020.

The AOT board had wanted the partial third runway to usher in the planned complete overhaul of existing runways at Suvarnabhumi airport, which had been in use for 10 years.

Without the third runway, estimated to cost 20.24 billion baht, small but frequent maintenance would continue on the existing two runways and this might inconvenience some travellers, Mr Nitinai said. He gave an assurance that safety would not be compromised.

The change will put off the construction of the third runway from this year to 2017.

The expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport, which now returns to its original second-phase plan, includes annexes to the first passenger terminal, more aircraft parking areas, and a new office building for airlines.