DOA Wants AoT to Manage Udon Thani and Tak Airports

21st Nov 2017

AirAsia Plane

The Airports of Thailand (AoT) could soon take over two more airports. On Monday, Department of Airports (DOA) Director Darun Sangchai said that he will propose that AoT takes over handling Udon Thani and Tak airports in order to step up efficiency.

At the moment, AoT controls six airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai. On the other side, DOA controls 28 airports. Three more airports are under private control by Bangkok Airways (that would be Samui, Sukhothai and Trat), while the Thai military controls one airport for commercial flights.

The DOA presented plan to the Kasetstart University Research and Development Institute for study. Together, they agreed that granting AoT the rights to manage airports such as Udon Thani and Tak would “create value”. In particular, Udon Thani earns a yearly profit of 100 million Thai baht and according to Darun “has a bright future”.

He also added that transferring the management of Udon Thani and Tak to AoT would increase its reach.

Right now, the AoT is 70% under the control of Thai government, while the remaining 30% is privately owned.

The study also proposed bringing in private sector to invest and manage Lampang, Phetchabun, Chumphon and Nakhon Ratchasima airports.

Mr. Darun said he would bring this idea to the Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith later this month.

He said:

Between 2009 and 2016 the number of passengers arriving within our affiliated 28 airports has risen by 25% and 17 of them are profitable which means they are self-sustaining. We have around 1 billion baht in revenue per year to subsidise the other airports, which are breaking even or making a loss, but there are many other channels of revenue we should consider as we do not even charge airlines for using our jet bridges.

Nawatat Kongsmut, Kasetstart Institute researcher added that the transport sector generated 3.3 million jobs.

He pointed out:

It contributes US$48 billion to the economy and supports 12% of the nation's GDP. Due to the number of bodies governing the Thai aviation industry, cooperation can be complicated and difficult at times.

Udon Thani is located in the north-eastern region of Isaan, while Tak Airports is in the Tak province.