Millions of Passengers Mean Makeovers for BKK, CNX, Phuket Airports

 | Fri 3 Jan 2014 10:51 ICT

CityNews – Airports in Thailand will be expanding to accommodate the growing number of incoming and outgoing travellers by air. The international airports that will be improved and expanded are Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket, as well as smaller ones such as the Mae Fah Luang airport in Chiang Rai and the Hat Yai airport in Songkhla.

Budgets have already been drawn up for the expansion of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports, the latter of which will possibly reopen as a full service airport to rival Suvarnabhumi. Don Mueang aims to be able to handle 30 million passengers a year after the expansion, as opposed to the annual 16 million now.

However, the always-overcrowded Suvarnabhumi Airport also plans on raising their passenger capacity, to a whopping 60 million a year, which will be funded by a 62 billion baht budget. The expansion is currently being designed, and is on track to be completed by 2017. Eventually, the monolith of an airport is expected to handle as many as 120 million passengers a year by 2024.

The heavily congested Phuket International Airport will also see an improved influx of visitors after expansion, jumping to 12.5 million people a year from 9.5 million. Originally, it was designed to handle only 6.5 million people, and the teeming airport is in clear need of a new terminal and many more parking bays. Officials are optimistic that the renovated airport will be up and running by mid-2014.

Although development on Chiang Mai International Airport has begun, the construction phase is a long way off. At the moment, feasibility studies are underway, and officials have plans to bolster the airport as an even bigger hub for the northern region. Chiang Mai International Airport is home to just two terminals – one for domestic passengers and one for international flights, and only sees around 3 million passengers a year.

In addition to expansion and renovation of Thailand’s airports, the public have called for improvements to be made to other facilities and infrastructure necessary to tourism in the country, such as roads, public transport and rail systems.