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Post Info TOPIC: Big queues again at Suvarnabhumi Airport .. "not happy"

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Big queues again at Suvarnabhumi Airport .. "not happy"

Watcharapong Thongrung
The Nation March 19, 2012 1:00 am

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Congestion at Suvarnabhumi airport is due to overload passengers surpassing its capacity and temporary closure of an immigration gate.

BANGKOK: -- Bangkok's "single" airport controversy has returned to haunt all participants in the travel sector, especially air passengers who are most likely to suffer from rising congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Should the government opt for a single or dual international airports (with a second at Don Mueang), and who would benefit the most from each of these approaches? These are now the big questions facing the government.

The heavy passenger congestion at Suvarnabhumi was the talk of the town last week as passengers took more than three hours to get through the departure procedure. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the government would move all low-cost flight services from Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang, citing Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa.

Yingluck and Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan both want to move all low-cost flight services to Don Mueang in a bid to ease the load at Suvarnabhumi, which now handles 47 million or 48 million passengers a year, surpassing its capacity of 45 million. To achieve the goal, the government will offer tax incentives on landing, parking bay and other fees.

If we want to become an aviation hub by sticking to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s suggestion that we maintain a single airport policy, we might suffer more than ever from congestion, market watchers said. If the Airports of Thailand (AOT) cannot build a domestic terminal and a third runway in Suvarnabhumi's second phase, due to be complete in 2016, congestion will get more intense.

The second phase, with an estimated cost of Bt62 billion, is set for a five-year period of construction ending in 2016. Following the plan, the airport will be able to handle 15 million more passengers a year, totalling 60 million, and 28 more parking bays, of which some would be for A380 aircraft, for a total of 148.

A single airport would facilitate connecting flight services, but it would take five more years to complete terminal and runway expansion to handle the additional passengers.

It is possible that the long queue of passengers at the immigration gate at Suvarnabhumi being used as a pretext for moving low-cost flight services to Don Mueang. Why doesn't the government solve the core problem, which is mismanagement by airport operator AOT, and speed up construction of the airport's second phase?

The point is that the government is not in a good position to proceed with expanding its investment in Suvarnabhumi, but the number of passengers there is increasing rapidly. Moreover, the government has already spent much money on populist schemes that it promised in order to win the election in July, along with compensation for the floods in the second half of last year. There are a number of mega-investment projects already queuing up for a budget.

One way to solve the congestion problem at Suvarnabhumi is to |move all low-cost carriers, the biggest of which is Thai AirAsia, which operates 82 to 90 flights a |day. A source at AOT said moving |all low-cost flight services would help reduce congestion at Suvarnabhumi by around 8-10 million passengers a year. This would also help slow down the investment in construction of Suvarnabhumi's second phase.

But another big question is what kind of incentives the government will offer to those low-cost airlines to encourage them to move. These days, many airlines are expanding the number of flights they offer, |both domestically and internationally, including connecting flights. Last week, low-cost airlines urged the government to clarify its incentives.

AOT, meanwhile, is not believed to be in favour of moving the low-cost carriers, as its management costs could double, but it would not gain any fee income from Don Mueang, the source said.

Operators of retail spaces, car-parking lots and hotels near Don Mueang, should be the gainers in this game if moving the low-cost flight services to the airport is successful.

-- The Nation 2012-03-19


-- Edited by Roaming reporter on Monday 19th of March 2012 11:58:13 AM



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Good write up and highlights SOME of the problems .

Another real problem is that the main airport  is the last place on earth that immigration & customs staff wish to be posted .

They are paid a pittance  for what is a high stress job  and always understaffed   .


It appears  that the current Thai proxy PM just has not got a handle on things and just keeps rolling out popularist  mini plans .


One wonders how long until the wheels come off big time  when the majority figure out they have been conned and the person at the wheel  is not up to the task .

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