[ Thailand ] Airports of Thailand is revising its plan for a second airport in Chiang Mai.
08 November 2017
Airports of Thailand is revising its plan for a second airport in Chiang Mai, with the budget likely to be slashed and Mae Fa Luang airport in neighbouring Chiang Rai developed as the North’s second aviation hub and operating around the clock.
AOT president Nitinai Srismatthakarn said Monday details of the adjustments to its investment plan should take about a month.
A second airport is needed to catch up with growing demand for airline services, he said.
Construction of the planned second airport in Chiang Mai began last year, and it was due to be completed by 2030, he said. The timeframe may now be cut back to 2025.
This means the budget already planned for funding the initial investment will also be reduced in the second phase of its implementation, he said.
The initial plan was to operate the second airport in Chiang Mai around the clock, but the last flight of the day from China, the main departure country, will now arrive around 3am because new laws in China ban flights taking off after midnight, Mr Nitinai said.
That means there will be no flights arriving at the airport between 4am and 5am, he said.
Instead, the AOT is considering developing Mae Fa Luang airport in Chiang Rai as the North’s second flying hub operating around the clock.
In an associated 20-year investment plan, 6.2 billion baht is expected to be allocated to fund the Chiang Rai airport's expansion, an informed source said. It will be in three phases, to be implemented from this year until 2030.
By 2030, Mae Fa Luang airport should be able to accommodate up to 30 flights per hour, the source said.
Mr Nitinai said the AOT will soon conduct a test run of the planned around-the-clock operation at Mae Fa Luang airport by diverting three flights from China a day from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.
“If the plan to operate the Mae Fa Luang airport in Chiang Rai around the clock proves to be efficient in handling the growing number of passengers from China in the next two years, there will be no need to construct a second airport in Chiang Mai,” he said.
Last year Mae Fa Luang airport handled 2.3 million passengers, a 22% growth, he said. With a total area of 4,000 rai available, the airport is more suitable for expansion.
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Credit link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/1356159/aot-revises-chiang-mai-airport-plan-chiang-rai-preferred