AoT commits to expanding Suvarnabhumi

Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) has signed three contracts worth 14.9 billion baht to expand Suvarnabhumi airport as the government gears up efforts to turn Thailand into the region's aviation hub.

The first contract worth 12 billion baht involves Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), hired to construct a concourse, parking bays and a tunnel in the airport's southern area.

The second contract at a cost of 1.98 billion baht concerns SG and Interlink Consortium, employed to set up the utility system. Another deal worth 879.9 million baht involves SCS Consortium, which was hired to oversee the constructions.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the contracts serve as a starting point in the government's drive for megaprojects and more investments by the AoT are still in the pipeline.

The AoT is scaling up efforts to develop Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai and Phuket airports to turn Thailand into the aviation gateway in the region, Mr Somkid said. The development would be a boon to trade, investment, tourism and national competitiveness, he added.

According to Mr Somkid, Don Mueang airport must be developed and turned into the hub for domestic flights, while U-tapao airport will developed as an international commercial one.

To achieve the goal of the aviation gateway next year, the AoT must accelerate the feasibility projects and it must work harder than the private sector, he said.

Next year, the government, he said, will expedite several major projects to boost community income and the country's competitiveness, including those involved with the digital economy, the development of the eastern economic zone, startups, electric trains, airports, ports and creative economy.

AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said the six-airport development master plan involves a 10-year investment at a cost of 195 billion baht. Of the amount, 140-150 billion baht will be earmarked in the first five years.

Efforts are being made to mobilise projects planned for the first three to five years. The projects include the third runway construction of Suvarnabhumi airport at a cost of 20 billion baht and the second passenger terminal worth 34 billion baht.

The developments are needed to increase the airport's capacity to handle up to 90 million passengers a year in 2021, Mr Nitinai said.

The design work for two projects will be driven first without having to wait for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure, which could take almost a year, he said.

The designs could be drawn up within 10 months, which is likely to be in the same time when the EIA and the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) are completed in the third quarter of next year, he said.

Meanwhile, the AoT has decided to turn away a proposal by low-cost carrier group AirAsia to jointly invest in the Don Mueang airport development.

AirAsia wanted to invest in the construction of the passenger terminal in the area where Warehouses 1 and 2 are located, but the AoT made it clear the area would be set aside for parking bays, Mr Nitinai said.

Source URL: Bangkok Post