August 18, 2012 00:00
By BAMRUNG AMNATCHAROENRIT
Airports of Thailand (AOT) yesterday announced that Don Mueang Airport is now 100 per cent ready to open for low-cost carriers on October 1.
The listed airport operator also insisted that Don Mueang would be used permanently, and that AOT would work on connectivity with Suvarnabhumi Airport for passengers.
It was the first time AOT had gone public on the issue of Don Mueang’s rebirth as a hub for low-cost airlines after controversy over its readiness for the full re-launch on October 1. The long silence has undermined confidence, especially among foreign tourists.
Flying Officer Anirut Thanomkulbutra, president of the airport authority, confirmed that Don Mueang would be ready to serve low-cost carriers fully and on time. Currently, only Nok Air and Orient Thai and charter flights use the facility. He said AOT was in talks with the other 14 budget airlines to set up operations at the old airport.
Only Terminal 1 is to be in operation, which can accommodate 16.5 million passengers a year for both domestic and international flights.
However, what people have worried about most is not Don Mueang’s capacity but connectivity between the two airports. Anirut said AOT had prepared transport service between the two such as public and shuttle buses. In the future, the Bangkok mass transit system will be extended to link the two airports as well.
Also yesterday, AOT held “Thailand Take Off”, an operational workshop on preparing Don Meuang Airport for its new role. Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan presided over the event.
About 200 people involved in the aviation industry attended.
Thai AirAsia, the biggest low-cost carrier, will relocate on October 1 from Suvarnabhumi.