Congestion at Suvarnabhumi airport is growing less quickly thanks to some relief provided by Don Mueang airport, but overcrowding will continue to plague the facility albeit at a slower pace.
Suvarnabhumi general manager Rawewan Netrakavesna said passenger traffic through Suvarnabhumi, Thailand's hub airport, for fiscal 2014 beginning today is projected to reach 55 million, up from 51 million projected for fiscal 2013 ended yesterday.
Much of the past fiscal year's increase was driven by rising international traffic, making up for both domestic and international traffic on AirAsia airlines after they shifted to Don Mueang in October 2012.
Based on the trends signalled by figures in the first 11 months of fiscal 2013, Suvarnabhumi's expected full-year passenger traffic of 51 million will represent a decline of 1.92% from the previous year's 52 million.
Combined aircraft movements will decline by 11.6% to 289,000 and cargo volume by 8% to 1.27 million tonnes.
But Suvarnabhumi has continued to operate beyond its annual capacity of 45 million passengers.
Without AirAsia flights being diverted to Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi's congestion would be even worse, with passenger throughput easily reaching 60 million in fiscal 2013.
Despite efforts to streamline air traffic, Suvarnabhumi will remain congested as the airport's expansion, which will raise annual passenger-handling capacity by one-third to 60 million, will not be completed until the end of 2016.
Mrs Rawewan said the 62-billion-baht expansion is in progress.
Efforts are being made to embark on the construction of a third runway.
By restricting the runway's length to 2,900 metres, Airports of Thailand (AoT), operator of the country's six main airports, hopes to get construction off the ground quickly by bypassing the requirement to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
AoT hopes to avoid the lengthy EIA process by defining the proposed runway as an "emergency" facility whose length would not exceed 3,000 metres.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business