Board approves plan to expand Don Muang airport

Thailand’s second-biggest airport will get an additional $1.3 billion expansion as Airports of Thailand approved a master plan last week for the third phase of construction on Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok.

Despite most construction work halting temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom is determined to keeping planning and pressing ahead with its national infrastructure upgrade. Construction should resume in the near future.

Don Muang’s expansion will increase its capacity to 40 million passengers a year from 30 million. The work will include building an automated people mover system, 12 new parking areas, and a junction terminal with additional parking.

Airports of Thailand, which manages about a dozen of the Kingdom’s largest and busiest airports, said the new junction terminal would cover 100,000 square yards. Its commercial space would raise the airport’s non-aviation income by 40 to 50 percent.

Don Muang was the main international gateway to Thailand for decades. Now it is one of three massive airports in the greater Bangkok area. Suvarnabhumi International and U-Tapao International in Rayong in the Eastern Economic Corridor adjacent to the capital are the others.

A light rail system will link all three airports.

The Airports of Thailand board has also proposed relief measures to help airlines suffering from the loss of passengers and revenue because of the pandemic. The proposals include a 50 percent cut in landing fees and parking fees for domestic flights and international flights from and to countries profoundly affected by the virus outbreak.

The cabinet must approve the proposal before it takes effect.

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