Thailand plans two major airport expansions next year as tourists return

CAP: Don Mueang International in Bangkok will get a $1bn expansion (Andre Wadman/GFDL 1.2)
CAP: Don Mueang International in Bangkok will get a $1bn expansion (Andre Wadman/GFDL 1.2)

Tenders will be launched next year for the expansion of Thailand’s two biggest airports, Suvarnabhumi International and Don Mueang International, both of which serve Bangkok, Thailand’s transport minister Saksayam Chidchob said.

He said the expansions were needed to meet a surge in passenger demand after Thailand dropped Covid entry restrictions on 1 October this year.

Some 3 million passengers used Thai airports that month, compared with average monthly traffic of about 1.2 million between January to September.

Thailand’s tourism authority predicts 28.3 million foreign tourists next year after Covid sent numbers plunging to fewer than 7 million in 2020 and just half a million in 2021.

The figure stood at around 40 million before the Covid struck in 2020.

The tenders will be let by Airports of Thailand (AOT), the public company that operates the country’s six biggest airports, The Nation reports.

AOT wants a new $290m passenger terminal east of Suvarnabhumi, due to open in 2028.

The minister said AOT will look for bidders for the third phase of Don Mueang’s expansion, which has a budget of $1bn.

According to The Nation, a construction plan will be presented to AOT’s board of directors in March. Once approved, it will be sent to the National Economic and Social Development Council for endorsement before being submitted to the cabinet for approval.

Bidding is expected to begin in the summer of 2023 with the aim of commencing construction in 2024.

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