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Thailand Accelerates Airport Upgrades to Boost Regional Connectivity

Bangkok, February 18, 2023 – In a recent announcement, Mr. Kriachai Chaiyareungsak, the Deputy Director-General for Standards at the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), shed light on the ongoing development projects aimed at enhancing regional airports across Thailand. Currently overseeing upgrades at ten airports with a budget exceeding 10 billion Thai Baht, the DCA is actively working to improve facilities at key locations such as Krabi, Khon Kaen, Trang, Narathiwat, Buri Ram, Roi Et, Lampang, Surat Thani, and Hua Hin. These renovations encompass the expansion of passenger terminals, runway lengths, taxiways, and the construction of new passenger facilities.

The comprehensive endeavor is expected to conclude by the end of 2026, significantly augmenting the nation’s capacity to accommodate domestic air travelers. Presently, the 29 airports collectively handle 40 million passengers annually. The ambitious plan aims to elevate this capacity to 52 million passengers per year by 2026.

Mr. Kriachai Chaiyareungsak highlighted the varied timelines for completion due to the diverse nature of each airport. He stated, “In 2022, certain sections of several airports became operational, with variations depending on the unique requirements of each site. Notable progress includes new passenger terminals at Krabi and Khon Kaen airports. By 2023, the brand-new passenger terminal at Trang Airport is scheduled to be completed and operational, welcoming passengers between August and September.”

Additionally, he emphasized that while Betong Airport currently does not cater to commercial flights, the situation might change. Mr. Kriachai mentioned, “Although Betong Airport is not servicing commercial flights at the moment, there are discussions with Thai Asia Airline to initiate commercial flights, as they have recently introduced a small aircraft on the Hat Yai–Betong route in July.”

Furthering connectivity efforts, Mr. Kriachai revealed discussions with Thai Asia Airline to increase flight frequencies to Krabi and introduce new routes such as Don Mueang–Lampang. The airline is also considering new international routes connecting Hat Yai to Hua Hin, Buriram, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani airports, presenting prospects for broader regional accessibility.

In conclusion, the proactive measures taken by the Department of Civil Aviation in collaboration with airlines illustrate a forward-looking approach to infrastructure development. As Thailand aspires to become a central hub for air transportation, these strategic upgrades aim to cater to the growing demands of both domestic and international travelers, paving the way for a more robust and interconnected aviation network.

The comprehensive endeavor is expected to conclude by the end of 2023, significantly augmenting the nation’s capacity to accommodate domestic air travelers. Presently, the 29 airports collectively handle 40 million passengers annually. The ambitious plan aims to elevate this capacity to 52 million passengers per year by 2023.

Mr. Kriachai Chaiyareungsak highlighted the varied timelines for completion due to the diverse nature of each airport. He stated, “In 2022, certain sections of several airports became operational, with variations depending on the unique requirements of each site. Notable progress includes new passenger terminals at Krabi and Khon Kaen airports. By 2023, the brand-new passenger terminal at Trang Airport is scheduled to be completed and operational, welcoming passengers between August and September.”

Additionally, he emphasized that while Betong Airport currently does not cater to commercial flights, the situation might change. Mr. Kriachai mentioned, “Although Betong Airport is not servicing commercial flights at the moment, there are discussions with Thai Asia Airline to initiate commercial flights, as they have recently introduced a small aircraft on the Hat Yai–Betong route in July.”

Furthering connectivity efforts, Mr. Kriachai revealed discussions with Thai Asia Airline to increase flight frequencies to Krabi and introduce new routes such as Don Mueang–Lampang. The airline is also considering new international routes connecting Hat Yai to Hua Hin, Buriram, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani airports, presenting prospects for broader regional accessibility.

In conclusion, the proactive measures taken by the Department of Civil Aviation in collaboration with airlines illustrate a forward-looking approach to infrastructure development. As Thailand aspires to become a central hub for air transportation, these strategic upgrades aim to cater to the growing demands of both domestic and international travelers, paving the way for a more robust and interconnected aviation network.

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