AirAsia will move its flight operations from Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang Airport by October 1, in the hope that the former Bangkok airport will serve its plan to expand its fleet to 48 aircraft.
Today, Tassapon Bijleveld, the CEO of Thai AirAsia, joined officials at the Airports of Thailand, which operates both airports, in affirming the airline’s readiness for the relocation.
He noted that AirAsia's decision to return to Don Mueang Airport was carefully assessed and said that the capabilities of Don Mueang Airport are in line with AirAsia's own growth plan. A thorough consideration of the transfer to Don Mueang Airport found that the airport's capabilities, coupled with the Airports of Thailand's assistance measures, meant AirAsia could better manage its costs more effectively and provide passengers with improved service.
“The uncongested Don Mueang Airport is sure to prove a benefit to AirAsia when it boosts its fleet of Airbus A320s to a total of 48 and welcomes more customers. The airport's location also makes it conducive to further travel. Prospective travellers should have confidence in what Don Mueang has to offer,” Tassapon said.
Earlier, he said that the relocation should save the airline nearly Bt1 million in daily fuel cost, as congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport requires airliners to circle above the airport for 10 minutes or more, especially the airport’s East Runway is closed for maintenance.
The government recently decided to reopen Don Mueang Airport for lowcost airlines to ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is expected to welcome nearly 50 million passengers this year despite its 45 million capacity.
According to Tassapon, AirAsia expects all of its services to be based at Don Mueang Airport from October 1 onward. The airline's flights will retain their FD code and original schedules. Passengers who are affected by the switch to Don Mueang Airport, may alter their flights by either choosing another travel date on the same route either 7 days before or after their original travel date, at no additional cost. Passengers also have an option to convert the paid flight into a credit shell available to be used within the next 90 days. The change options are only available to affected passengers who purchased their tickets before 26 June 2012 and whose travel dates are from October 1 onwards.
The following are comments from Facebook/NationNews:
Obviously. There is no functional public transport to Don Mueang, so the only alternative is taxi which is more expensive. Then there's the chance of being caught in traffic jams. Changing between the airports meets the same challenges; expensive and totally unpredictable with regards to time. For people who fly frequently with Air Asia, the most realistic option would probably be to change to another, more expensive airline that uses Suvarnbhumi. That would make Bangkok much less attractive as a hub for flying. KL looks increasingly attractive.
Wannapa Khaopa Yes. I'm worried about traffic jam as skytrain and subway are not available at Don Mueang. It's very difficult for passengers especially those from other countries to manage their time travelling during rush hour in Bangkok.
It would be nice if Air Asia (or AOT) would run a shuttle service between airports and from Mo Chit BTS station. That would alleviate some of the inconvenience.
There are already vans going between the two airports, but if there are traffic jams, which there are every day, particularly during the rainy season, you're stuck anyway. What would really help is a shuttle train between Don Mueang Airport and Bang Sue where there's an MRT station. At least that would help avoiding traffic jams. This move will only help Thai Airways.