A tale of two (or one) airports

By Administrator |

The big issue over whether Bangkok should have one or two aviation gateway airports is expected to come to a head within the next few weeks, with significant ramifications for airlines, shops and passengers whichever

way the argument goes.

After just three months in office, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's Democrat Party-led coalition government has been under pressure from the Newin Chidchob faction's Sophon Saram – who is also his Transport Minister- to relocate all of Thai Airways' 46 domestic flights from the old Don Muang Airport back to the relatively new $3.5bn Suvarnabhumi Airport facility.

Critics say that such a move will only cause severe congestion at Suvarnabhumi which is close to its 45m passenger handling capacity already. But supporters of the move say that it is necessary if monetary support is to be given for the next Bht.70bn ($1.9bn) expansion phase at Suvarnabhumi, which involves a third runway and associated passenger facilities.

The latest order will put even more pressure on Thai Airways which was ordered to move its domestic services back to what was then the moth-balled Don Muang by the previous government, along with Nok Air and One-To-Go. This order was given after the widely-publicised problems with facilities which did not function properly at Suvarnabhumi and the more worrying cracks in the taxiways on some of the runway approaches.

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