New airports proposed for Chiang Mai and Phuket

Airports of Thailand (AoT), the public company that manages six busiest airports across the country, is seeking approval from the Thai government to build new airports in Chiang Mai and Phuket and wants to bring four more provincial airports under its management.

Chiang Mai and Phuket are the two most popular destinations in Thailand outside of Bangkok and its nearby resort of Pattaya. Traffic at both airports has been pushed past capacity in recent years requiring both facilities to expand through renovations.

Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, president of AoT, said that if the Thai government approves his company’s plans, the two airports could be built and opened by 2025. The cost of the two new airports, constructing a new terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and expanding Don Muang International Airport, both in Bangkok, would be approximately $6.4 billion altogether.

Nitnai said that the overall project would solidify Thailand’s standing as a regional aviation hub, and ensure that it remains so for many years to come.

The new terminal at Suvarnabhumi would boost its capacity to 90 million passengers per year and would increase capacity at Don Muang to 40 million per year. The Thai government is also developing U-Tapao Airport in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the pilot project for the economic development of Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard adjacent to Bangkok, and would eventually be able to handle 60 million passengers per year.

In addition, the AoT is asking the Thai government to allow it to manage airports in Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon, Tak, and Chumphon provinces. That would bring the total number of airports under its purview to ten.

Udon Thani is one of the largest provinces in the northeast of Thailand, where Sakon Nakhon is also located. Tak and Chumphon are western provinces bordering Myanmar, with Tak in the north and Chumphon in the south of the region.

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