Suvarnabhumi plan awaits government approval
Expansion to meet passenger demand
Passengers are tested for Covid-19 upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan province on December 20, 2021. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
The Ministry of Transport is seeking government approval to complete the eastern extension project of Suvarnabhumi Airport, which will increase passenger handling capacity at Thailand’s main aviation gateway.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said airports in Thailand (AoT) had requested assistance from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to revise the Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion plan – a project that would cost the government an estimated 57 billion baht. The Iata has completed its study, while ICAO has yet to submit its findings, the minister said.
To avoid further delays in airport development, the ministry will ask a government committee overseeing the airport’s expansion to authorize the continuation of the eastward expansion project.
Once the committee – chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul – approves the request, the project proposal will be forwarded to cabinet for approval. Work on the project could begin as soon as it is approved by the cabinet.
The eastward expansion project, which will increase passenger handling capacity at Suvarnabhumi Terminal 1, had already been approved by the National Council for Economic and Social Development (NESDC).
As for the northern extension of the airport, Mr Saksayam said it will need to be discussed jointly between AoT and NESDC, taking into account an ICAO study on the issue.
Mr Saksayam justified the expansion plan by citing an Iata forecast that by 2031 the number of air passengers passing through Thailand will reach 200 million per year, putting Suvarnabhumi on track to become the ninth airport. the busiest in the world.
For this reason, a plan was needed to plan for the future development of Suvarnabhumi as well as the expansion of its terminals. Details of the airport expansion plan were reported by the media early last year. The project would see an east and west wing built adjacent to Terminal 1, adding to the airport’s usable space of 66,000 square meters per wing. Each terminal would cost around 7.8 billion baht, according to reports.
The plan also included a plan to build a north wing at a cost of 41.2 billion baht, which would increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity by 30 million to 40 million per year.
The Iata study suggested that the government proceed with this wing, as its size meant it could accommodate more domestic and international passengers.