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Suvarnabhumi » 1 Year of the Bangkok’s new international airport Suvarnabhumi near capacity

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

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Official figures released yesterday confirm that Suvarnabhumi Airport is closing in on its designed capacity just one year after it opened.

Total passenger movements through Bangkok’s new international airport reached 41.8 million from October 2006 to September 2007, or 92.88% of its 45million passenger a year capacity.

The 155 Billion Baht airport handled 267,480 aircraft movements, including both takeoffs and landings, according to Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT), the majority state-owned company that operates the country’s six major airports.

Cargo shipments through Suvarnabhumi hit 1.23 million tonnes, representing 41% of the airport’s annual capacity of three million tonnes.

The figures confirmed earlier projections that the airport would reach full capacity only two or three years after its inception.

The crowding has already prompted speculation that Airports of Thailand may shift some international traffic to the old Don Muang airport, which has served some non-connecting domestic flights since last March.

Serirat Prasutanond, the general manager of Suvarnabhumi airport, said passenger volume through the airport was likely to reach 44.5 million in its second year of operations in 2008, thus putting more strain on the facility.

Airports of Thailand is considering whether to proceed with the original master plan for expanding Suvarnabhumi with help from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which is undertaking a study.

Mr Serirat said the Airports of Thailand would likely submit recommendations on how to relieve congestion at Suvarnabhumi for the Transport Ministry in the near future.

The 93-year-old Don Muang airport has processed 3.17 million passengers from March to the end of September.

In other words, about 40% of domestic flights where shifted to Don Muang airport.

Airports of Thailand figures show that Suvarnabhumi handled 32.60 million international passengers in its first year, an increase of 4.85% from the number that passed through Don Muang last year. It also handed 191,278 international aircraft movements, up 5.01%. Suvarnabhumi handled 9.23 million domestic passengers and 76,202 aircraft movements.  (Boonsong/Bkk Post )

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