Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Thailand sets sights on doubling capacity at main airport

BANGKOK (Reuters) — Thailand plans to double the annual capacity at its main Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to 150 million passengers, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Friday.

The airport, which currently handles 60 million passengers, will also add a third runway, allowing the airport to handle 90 flights per hour, up from 60 flights per hour, by October this year, he said.

Srettha was speaking at an event announcing the government’s plans to upgrade the nation’s airports.

“Suvarnabhumi will become a top-50 airport by next year,” he said. It is currently ranked 68th in the Skytrax World Airport Awards.

Passengers and tourists on social media have complained about the airport’s long immigration and check-in lines.

Another airport in Bangkok, Don Mueng, will see capacity rise from 30 million to 50 million passengers each year, he said.

The government also plans to upgrade regional airports to support tourism, a key driver of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

In the south, Phuket’s airport will increase capacity to 18 million passengers from 12.5 million annually, including plans to build a new airport, he said, adding that the northern airport in Chiang Mai will double its annual capacity to 16.5 million by 2029.

“Thailand can become an aviation hub, and upgrading airports will be good for the economy,” Srettha said.

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