Located north of Bangkok, Don Mueang Airport will be developed to ease air traffic congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport in east of Bangkok, and promote Thailand’s air transport business. Both airports will be used for the maximum benefit of the country.
At its fifth mobile meeting in Chon Buri on 19 June 2012, the Cabinet approved the development of Don Mueang, during the period when Suvarnabhumi Airport is being developed in the second phase, from 2011 to 2017.
According to the Cabinet decision, Suvarnabhumi will be a hub airport for full-service and connecting flights, while Don Mueang will serve low-cost carriers and accommodate both domestic and point-to-point international flights. The Cabinet instructed all relevant agencies to be ready to serve the airlines that volunteer to relocate to Don Mueang.
Airports of Thailand Public Company reported that, at present, Don Mueang accommodates flights from Nok Air and Orient, as well as other airlines. In 2011, Don Mueang provided services for 40,903 flights, with 3.4 million passengers, while its maximum capacity is 36.5 million passengers a year.
In the same period, Suvarnbabhumi Airport accommodated 200,566 flights, with 47.9 million passengers, while its maximum capacity is 45 million passengers a year. As a result, the airline has become congested and the quality of its services has been affected. The second phase of the development of Suvarnabhumi requires four to five years. After the second phase is completed, congestion at Suvarnabhumi is likely to continue. Therefore, the Airports of Thailand Public Company, which is under the Ministry of Transport, proposed the development of Don Mueang to ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi.
The budget to be used for developing Don Mueang will come from Airports of Thailand Public Company. The project will help reduce the company’s expenditures in the long run. There are expected to be 14 airlines operating at Don Mueang for both scheduled and chartered flights.
Under the development plan, 1.6 billion baht will be spent on the project, which involves the improvement of runways and various facilities. Don Mueang will be reopened for services in August 2012, but the reopening ceremony will officially take place in October. The reopening of Don Mueang Airport for full aviation services will help bring down the number of passengers at Suvarnabhumi Airport by 7-8 million per year.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed authorities to fully use the two airports to facilitate the movement of passengers. In particular, she would like see close coordination between Don Mueang and Suvarnbhumi.
Don Mueang Airport closed in 2006 following the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport, before opening again for domestic flights after a major renovation in March 2007.