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Suvarnabhumi » Thai Airways to keep international flights at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

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Thai Airways plans to continue using Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport for international flights, despite government plans to reopen the city’s old airport because of needed repairs at the new facility, a top airline executive said.

The national carrier has not yet decided whether to relocate certain domestic flights to Don Muang Airport, if and when the old Bangkok airport is reopened, Thai Airways president Apinan Sumanaseni said after a board meeting Wednesday.

Thai Airways said it saw no need to switch international flights to Don Muang, which could prove confusing to travelers, since the new airport was “safe for operation,” Apinan said, adding that the carrier had already invested 17 billion baht (US$510 million, €390 million) to relocate to Suvarnabhumi.

Bangkok’s sleek and modern Suvarnabhumi Airport has been the focus of front-page news for weeks, since a panel that inspected the airport found cracks on the taxiways and other problems that need to be fixed. The panel has said that the repairs could be made quickly and posed no safety threat.

To ease congestion while repairs are made, the government has approved reopening Don Muang as a second international airport, but has not yet finalized the move or set a date. The Transport Ministry was scheduled to hold a meeting Thursday with airlines to clarify its plans for Don Muang.

Transport Minister Thira Hao-Charoen has said he did not expect many airlines to move back to the old airport because of the investment spent for their relocation. Budget carriers, however, have expressed interest in returning to Don Muang, where fees are cheaper.

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