Thai official says new airport may close

9th Feb 2007

Thai legislators investigating problems at Suvarnabhumi Airport are confident that Bangkok’s recently-decommissioned former international airport at Don Muang will be ready to resume service for both international and domestic flights within 45 days as planned. However, confusion remains as to how many airlines will be relocated to the old terminal, after Admiral Bannawit Kengrien, chairman of the National Legislative Assembly committee inspecting problems at Suvarnabhumi Airport, told reporters he would prefer it if the troubled new facility was completely shut down to allow for a major overhaul.

The Admiral said was concerned that closing off damaged sections of the runways and taxiways for repairs, as is currently the case, might be seen as unsafe by the travelling public and the airline industry, adding that it could take up to 12 months to fix the major problems.

There are over 100 cracks in Suvarnabhumi’s runways and taxiways.

A panel of technical experts, which was hastily assembled to determine the scale of the cracks at the new airport, is due to report back on Friday.

The Thai Cabinet decided earlier this week to reopen Don Muang not only for domestic flights but also for international flights in a bid to ease congestion while mounting problems at Suvarnabhumi are addressed.


Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld said he had no objection to the government plan to operate two international airports in Bangkok simultaneously but the authorities should provide clarity as to which airlines would be based at Don Muang and which airlines would stay at Suvarnabhumi.

“It would be highly impractical and costly for each airline to maintain a presence at both airports,” he added.

Airline representatives are invited to a meeting at the Transport Ministry next week for consultation.


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