Plans To Elevate Suvarnabhumi Airport Into the World’s Top 20

The Ministry of Transport aims to elevate Suvarnabhumi Airport into the top 20 global airports by 2029, aligning with the national strategy to establish Thailand as a premier aviation hub, announced government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke.

This ambitious goal was set by Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit following the airport’s placement at 58th in the 2024 World’s Best Airport rankings by Skytrax, a UK-based consultancy that ranks global airlines and airports.

Last year, the airport ranked 68th, Mr. Chai stated. Additionally, Don Mueang airport, primarily serving low-cost carriers in Bangkok, secured a spot in the top 10 of Skytrax’s 2024 rankings for the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Terminals.

Suvarnabhumi, one of the busiest airports in the region, is set to manage 170 million passengers and one million flights annually by 2029, detailed the spokesperson.

By 2034, the airport’s capacity is expected to increase further to accommodate 210 million passengers and 1.2 million flights annually.

From October 2023 to May 2024, Suvarnabhumi airport handled 81.05 million passengers, reaching 83.4% of the pre-Covid traffic seen in 2019-2020, Mr. Chai revealed.

Of the 81.05 million passengers that transited through the airport, 48.95 million were domestic travelers, with the remainder flying internationally, according to Mr. Chai.

He also noted that the airport managed 490,970 flights during this period, representing approximately 81% of the flight volume it handled in 2019.

“The Prime Minister intends to ramp up the development of Thailand’s airports under the government’s plan to transform the country into an aviation hub. We will continue to upgrade these airports’ capacity and improve the passenger experience,” Mr. Chai said.

Currently, Suvarnabhumi is undergoing expansions to add 81,000 square meters of space to enhance traveler convenience.

Efforts are also underway to prepare the airport’s third runway for operations by September.

Once functional, the airport will increase its capacity to 94 flights per hour from the current 68.

In a related development, Mr. Suriya has directed the Krabi airport authorities to prepare for an increased flight and passenger load later this year in response to numerous airlines seeking new flight slots.

Over the next few months, the airport is scheduled to manage over 160 flights weekly, following slot allocations discussed at the International Air Transport Association’s 154th Slot Conference in Bogota.

Requests have been made by ten airlines for scheduled direct flights to and from Krabi airport, along with three international charter operators, as informed by Danai Ruangsorn, the acting director-general of the Department of Airports.

These operators include notable airlines such as Flydubai, Scoot Tigerair, and others, with additional inquiries from Eastar Jet and Spring Airlines.

Compared to last year, when only five airlines operated international routes to Krabi, the increase in slot requests highlights the airport’s growing appeal to international tourists.

Danai confirmed that the airport is prepared to handle the expected surge in traffic.

He mentioned that a new terminal, scheduled to open next year, will increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity by 3,000 per hour. Currently, Krabi airport can accommodate up to 25 flights per hour.