Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is in favour of building a new terminal dedicated to domestic flights as a fast-track way to deal with crowding problems at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The AoT board yesterday agreed with recommendations made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN agency, for the construction of a domestic terminal capable of handling 20 million passengers a year.
The proposed terminal, which could be up and running in 44 months after receiving approval, is regarded as a possible early solution to the congestion at Thailand’s gateway airport.
According to AoT, Suvarnabhumi last year handled 42.78 million passengers and this year’s volume is expected to reach 46.78 million, exceeding its designed capacity of 45 million.
But AoT acting president Niran Teeranartsin noted that the board had not yet approved a new terminal, estimated to cost 9.13 billion baht.
The board asked management to see how the ICAO’s recommendation to build a domestic terminal could be aligned with the broader Suvarnabhumi airport expansion approved earlier by the cabinet.
In other words, management should see whether the master expansion plan, costing 62 billion baht, needs to be revised by taking into account the future role of Don Mueang airport, now serving only two domestic budget carriers, which remains an unresolved issue.
The proposed domestic terminal should be able to handle passengers until 2019, AoT said.
AoT management was assigned to report its findings to the board next month when it will decide on an expansion proposal to government.
The expansion endorsed by the cabinet in August last year envisages the construction of a satellite passenger terminal to be located about 800 metres south of the existing terminal and linked by an underground automated people mover, a rail system used by leading airports around the world.
A concourse would accommodate 28 aircraft including A380 superjumbo jets, and there will also be new taxiways, buildings for airline offices and car parking.
That expansion, which would lift the passenger handling capacity of Bangkok’s prime airport to 60 million a year, will not be completed until 2017.