Don Muang airport upgrading terminal during virus shutdown

The managers of Don Muang International Airport, the Kingdom’s second-most trafficked international gateway, are using a temporary halt in flights to speed up work on improving the terminal’s interior, showing they can make the most of a challenging situation.

Don Muang Airport Director Sampan Khuntranont said that with the coronavirus forcing a short suspension of flights, the time was right to push ahead with renovations on the interior of the international terminal. Even after flights resumed, most air traffic had ground to a halt because passengers were fearful of flying during the pandemic, leaving the terminal mostly empty.

“Redoing the interior is no easy task when there are lots of people wandering about,” Sampan said.

Renovating Don Muang’s international terminal interior includes improving the air-conditioning system, re-carpeting, and switching all lighting to LED lights to save energy and costs. It is one small part of a master plan to expand and upgrade the entire airport that is slated to cost $1.2 billion

The work on Don Muang is part of the country’s massive infrastructure upgrade, along with expanding Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport and U-Tapao International Airport in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Don Muang served as Thailand’s main international gateway until Suvarnabhumi opened in 2006. The old airport was closed but soon reopened because a steep rise in air traffic in and out of Thailand soon outstripped the new airport’s capacity.

Sampan said his main concern was that construction firms contracted to do the job would have a hard time finding the necessary workers because of the pandemic. May laborers returned to their home provinces when the government ordered non-essential businesses to shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

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