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Thailand delays Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion

Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) has postponed its expansion plan of the country's main Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, but it will increase the capacity of Don Mueang Airport.

BANGKOK: Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) has postponed its expansion plan of the country's main Suvarnabhumi Airport, as suggested by the army-led National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

However, it will increase the capacity of Don Mueang Airport, reported Thai News Agency (TNA).

AOT President Makin Petplai told journalists of the update on Thursday, noting that the NCPO's committee on the examination of government spending has told AOT to review the cost of its second-phase Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion project.

Following this, AOT postponed the project although it was in the process of finding a construction supervisor and staging a bidding contest.

For the time being, Makin acknowledged, AOT is improving Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport to deal with the soaring number of air passengers.

He said that Don Mueang Airport is expected to serve 18 million passengers this year and its improvement should then raise its capacity to more than 30 million passengers annually.

Makin insisted, however, that the second-phase Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion project remains necessary, as the country's main international airport now handles up to 51 million passengers annually, exceeding its original capacity of serving 45 million people yearly.

According to the AOT president, AOT earlier planned to start the expansion of the Suvarnabhumi Airport in December and to open the expanded section in late 2016 or early 2017 with the combined capacity of handling 60 million international passengers annually.

The AOT president projected that the number of air passengers at Thai airports under AOT's supervision should grow by 2-3 per cent this year, compared with 9.5 per cent last year, while that at other airports in Asia Pacific should increase by 6.5 per cent on average.

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