Government Speeds Up Plans To Expand Airports

The government has sped up plans to expand domestic and international airports’ facilities to receive more air passengers as part of its strategy to promote Thailand as a transportation hub in ASEAN.

On Sunday, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the government had accelerated its airport expansion plan to handle a surge in passenger numbers during and after the upcoming peak season in this year’s fourth quarter.

The Airports of Thailand (AoT) and the Department of Airports will carry out the expansion projects, which include Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, U-tapao Airport in Rayong, and Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan.

The expansion projects also cover several regional airports such as Krabi airport, Betong airport in Yala, Mae Sot airport in Tak, and Khon Kaen airport, Mr. Anucha said.

According to the government spokesman, the international airports operated by AoT are part of a key infrastructure plan. The project is expected to be linked with another high-speed rail project to attract more investors under the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

Suvarnabhumi Airport will be developed to be ASEAN’s aviation hub. The government expects it to handle up to 120 million passengers annually in the coming years.

To achieve that goal, several facilities at the airport must be expanded, with plans that include building an extension to Satellite  Terminal 1 to provide an additional 28 aircraft parking spaces to the existing 51.

That project is set to be finished this year, as is a third runaway, Mr. Anucha added.

Under the expansion plans, the airport’s eastbound and northbound passenger terminals would also be expanded to provide 66,000 square meters and 348,000 square meters of additional space, respectively.

Both projects are expected to start between January and April next year and be completed in two years.

The AoT and the Department of Airports are also studying a plan to add 66,000 square meters of additional space to the westbound terminal.

After the three expansion projects, the airport is expected to accommodate three times its current capacity of 45 million travelers per year.

At Don Mueang Airport, a third terminal with 155,000 square meters of additional space will be built. It’s expected to accommodate 18 million passengers more each year.

The design for the third facility, which could have parking for up to 12 planes, is complete. Interested parties could soon begin bidding to start construction.

Meanwhile, U-tapao airport in Rayong is set to open its second passenger terminal in 2027, expecting to accommodate up to 5 million passengers each year from its current 1.5 million.