Bangkok airport to provide separate terminal for LCCs


Bangkok (XFNews-ASIA) - Thailand's airport authority said a separate terminal for low-cost airlines will be built at the new Bangkok international airport at a cost of 600 mln baht.

Chotisak Asapaviriya, president of Airports of Thailand Plc, said construction of the low-cost terminal should be completed within 16 months of the project's approval.

"The design of the new terminal is completed and the plan will be proposed to the board for approval next month," he was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.

The move is designed to compete with dedicated budget terminals that opened earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and to ease concerns among low-cost carriers about increased operating expenses at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The number of passengers on low-cost airlines flying through Bangkok is expected to more than double to 15 mln within two years.

Thailand's government has told all airlines to move their operations to the new airport by late September. The new budget terminal will help low-cost carriers reduce their expenses by simplifying check-in procedures.

Low-cost travelers currently account for 7.0 mln of the 37 mln passengers arriving every year at the existing Don Muang Airport, straining it past capacity.

The government plans for Suvarnabhumi to open for commercial use on September 28 although some airline officials have said the actual date could be later in the year.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra reassured the public that the airport is ready and will open for commercial flights on September 28.

"By 3.00 am on September 28, Don Muang airport will officially close down for commercial flights. It will be used for only military, VIP, charter flights, light aircraft and as an aircraft maintenance center," he told reporters.

A low-cost subsidiary of Thai Airways International, Nok Air, said the separate terminal is the best solution for budget airlines. All three local low-cost carrier have backed the new terminal, saying the main airport was designed before their airlines existed.

"We need something simple that minimizes costs and is convenient for our passengers," Nok Air executive vice president Sehapan Chumsai told AFP.

The new airport is expected to have an initial capacity of 45 mln passengers annually.

Suvarnabhumi will stage domestic test flights on July 29 and international flights on September 1.

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