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Suvarnabhumi » Don Muang To Become Maintenance Hub

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

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Thailand plans to turn the almost-century-old Don Muang International Airport (Current Bangkok International Airport) into an aviation maintenance hub in South-East Asia.

Transport Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal said Don Muang would not be closed entirely once the new US$3.7 billion Suvarnabhumi Airport starts full commercial operation on Sept 28.

“Instead, it will be used as a maintenance centre and at the same time caters to charter flights and be a base for Royal Thai Air Force,” he said at a seminar on the new airport, here Tuesday.

He said several airlines were going there gradually, starting with Thai Airways’ (THAI) domestic flights on Friday.

Airports of Thailand (AOT) president, Chotsak Asapaviriya, said Don Muang has a big potential to become a regional maintenance hub.

“We have long runways to cater to all type of planes. This will be good for a maintenance centre,” he said.

Chotsak said companies involved in plane maintenance business were keen to move here.

“At present some Chinese airlines send their planes to Singapore for maintenance. But once we open our centre, I am confident they will come here,” he said.

He also said AOT planned to build an aviation college at Don Muang with the cooperation of THAI to produce skilled support staff.

Chotsak said the new airport would attract manufacturers of high-grade goods, such as electronic products and computer equipment, to open factories near the airport.

“These products have to be transported by cargo airplanes. By having factories near the airport, it will reduce logistic costs,” he said.

Don Muang Airport, which was officially opened on March 27, 1914, currently handles about 38 million passengers and is among the world’s busiest airports.

Suvarnabhumi Airport will handle 45 million passengers and three million tonnes of cargo a year in the first phase.

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