No new flights should be allowed to operate through Bangkok’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi, to prevent further congestion.
That’s the latest call by the Airline Operators Committee (AOC), a coalition of 86 international airlines and 26 aviation service providers operating at Suvarnabhumi, which is the main hub for Thai Airways International (THAI), Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai Airlines.
The AOC wants Thailand’s aviation authorities to impose the ban immediately, according to the Bangkok Post.
AOC chairman Louis Moser admitted the decision would be “painful” but said it was time for the authorities to “come to their senses” and realise Suvarnabhumi had reached capacity. It could accommodate no more flights beyond the current level.
Moser says overcrowding has become a critical problem at the airport and the situation is set to worsen next week as the six-month winter schedule begins. Airport use is expected to rise by 10% over the six-month period.
Suvarnabhumi has been operating for several years beyond its design capacity of 45 million passengers annually, the Bangkok Post points out.
According to figures released last week by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), the airport set a new record of 52.4 million passengers in the Thai fiscal year ending 30 September 2015.
That was an increase of 12.7% year-on-year, exceeding capacity by 17%.
AoT forecasts 9.7% passenger growth at the airport in calendar year 2016 and Moser says if that happens, total numbers will reach 70.9 million, making congestion “unbearable”.
Suvarnabhumi will add capacity when its Phase 2 takes effect, but that won’t happen for five years.
Written by Peter Needham