28th Dec 2017
By now it is no secret that most major commercial airports in Thailand suffer from overcrowding and are running above their projected capacity. The situation is the same in the largest city in the north of the country, Chiang Mai, whose airport handled almost 10 million passengers this year up to 30th September, 8.3% up from the same period in 2016.
The city itself is a popular destination for tourists from China and sees between 30,000 and 34,000 passengers every day. Chiang Mai Airport connects to 24 destinations around the world and serves 21 international carriers. In addition, the airport also handles between 200 and 210 aircraft movements (landings and takeoffs) a day.
The development of Chiang Mai Airport has been in the plans for some time now and has even gone through one stage. However, the second stage, approved by the AoT a while ago, has not been completed yet.
Placed in a 16,000 rai site, there is room for expansion and to increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity, which is now 8 million per year.
There are currently short-term plans to raise the capacity to 13 million by 2025, as mentioned by the airport’s General Manager Monthanik Rakngam. Mr. Monthanik also added that this stage of development also includes upgrading the facilities to allow Chiang Mai Airport to handle up to 18 million passengers in the next two decades. These upgrades could cost around 30 billion baht, he said.
The issue of Chiang Mai expansion has been on the table during the latest cabinet meeting held this Tuesday in Sukhothai province. Apart from the airport’s expansion, another question was also raised, that of building another airport in Chiang Mai.
The second Chiang Mai Airport would be built within 20 kilometers of the city itself, although no location has been defined.
Currently, two locations are favorites. One is in the Saraphi district of the city and the other is in Lamphun province. Both include large enough flat areas of 5-6,000 rai, required for an airport and with more land in case an expansion is required in a few years.