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Suvarnabhumi » New board of Airports of Thailand to cover up loss during military government took control

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

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The Transport Ministry from the elected government has ordered the new board of Airports of Thailand (AOT) to outperform its predecessor in terms of financial returns. The ministry also reiterated the government’s policy to cancel the use of Don Mueang as Bangkok’s second airport and promote Suvarnabhumi as the capital’s single airport. It demanded the board put this policy into practice.

New Airports of Thailand board members met Transport Minister Santi Prompat and Deputy Minister Songsak Thongsri yesterday. After the meeting, Mr Songsak said Airports of Thailand under the previous board appointed by the coup leader after the Sept 19, 2006 coup earned only two billion baht yearly, down from over 10 billion baht a year before the coup. Its dividend also plunged from over two baht per share to just 40 satang.

As a listed company, Airports of Thailand should make profits and pay dividends to shareholders at the level that it used to in order to restore investor confidence, he said.

Mr Songsak said good management should raise income and profits for Airports of Thailand and that the new board should consider transferring Airports of Thailand executives to improve management effectiveness.

He also said Suvarnabhumi should be Bangkok’s sole airport so the capital could become an air transport hub for the region. If Airports of Thailand was good at management, congestion should not be a problem and Bangkok would not need Don Mueang airport, he added.

The previous government reopened Don Mueang as Bangkok’s second airport to serve low-cost airlines and some domestic flights of Thai Airways International after it was closed in Sept 2006 following the opening of Suvarnabhumi airport.

Mr Songsak suggested Airports of Thailand reschedule incoming flights to reduce congestion.

He also ordered the new Airports of Thailand board to settle its dispute with its airport duty-free shop concessionaire King Power International Group.

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