Thailand is reported to be planning on transforming the passenger capacity of airports around Bangkok.
In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Thailand’s transport minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, said the plans involve transforming the small U-Tapao airport into an international airport capable of handling 60 million passengers a year. The airport currently only handles 300,000 chartered passengers a year.
In addition to U-Tapao, the existing Suvarnabhumi airport would double in capacity, from 45 million people to 90 million, and Don Mueang airport would increase from 30 million to 40 million.
If these plans went ahead, the greater Bangkok area’s handling capacity would rise from approximately 75 million people a year to 190 million people.
The ambitious expansion is part of the Thai government’s ‘Eastern Economic Corridor’ strategy, intended to turn Thailand’s three eastern provinces into an integrated industrial and commercial zone.
There are also plans to build a 220km high-speed railway connecting the three airports by 2023, in line with the completion of U-Tapao airport’s first phase. The bidding for the railway project will be held in November, with the winners announced in February 2019.