21st Jul 2019
The Airports Department is proposing to build a new airport in the west of Bangkok. The authorities aim to relieve congestion at Bangkok's two major airports- Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, with this project.
The project is still in its approval stage, and there is no guarantee for its construction yet. Airport authorities will hand it to the transport department, and they will decide whether to forward the plan to the cabinet or not. They will also hold a hearing in the coming months to gather more information and draft terms of reference for the airport project.
The deputy director-general of the airport department, Jarun Meesomboon, shared that if the airport plans get approved, the airport’s construction will begin in 2023.
The biggest reason for the airport is the rising traffic at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The airport started operating during 2006 with an area of 20,250 rai.
It was developed to handle 40 million passengers in one year. However, currently, it’s handling 70 million passengers, almost 60% more than its actual capacity. The airport is overflowing with passengers.
The airport department proposed a revised plan to construct a second terminal for Suvarnabhumi, but the idea was highly controversial. Government authorities say that the 42-billion baht terminal construction plan doesn’t match the original plan of Suvarnabhumi airport.
Nakhon Pathom is the only alternative way to deal with the traffic problem. According to the proposed plan, the new airport can share traffic of up to 25 million passengers per year.
The total construction cost will be 20-billion baht. It will acquire 3500 rai of land and will be spread over the Bang Len and Nakhon Chaisi districts.
The investment will be coming from both the public and private sectors for the project. In fact, many private company groups had shown interest in the project due to its high Economic Internal Rates of Return (EIRR). It can spike as high as 20% for this project.
However, the details of the investment model is not confirmed. The authorities may announce it after initial approval and further study of the project.
The new airport has a massive advantage in terms of its location. It is less than 50 kilometers from downtown Bangkok and also has access to the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi motorway. It will facilitate air travel for people in the provinces, promote local tourism, and also decentralize growth outside Bangkok.
The new airport will accommodate private jets, chartered flights, helicopters, and many commercial services. The two airports current Bangkok - Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi are struggling with a lack of slots for private jets and similar services.
Above all, the construction site has the least dense population. So acquiring the land should not be difficult.