Don Mueang airport reopens Terminal


Don Mueang airport reopens Terminal

After almost nine years of lying dormant, Don Mueang airport’s Terminal 2 was reopened on 24 December 2015, even though work had yet to be completed.

The Airports of Thailand (AoT) organization acknowledged the soft opening would lead to problems, but t believed it was better to open the facility to try and ease New Year holiday congestion at the main Don Mueang terminal.

The re-launch of Terminal 2 had already been delayed by one year and three billion baht spent on the renovation, with AoT stating they still needed until the end of February to complete the upgrade to the standard required.

Despite the early opening, the AoT insisted both safety and security were within the guidelines set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

The four main airlines currently operating out of Don Mueang, namely Thai AirAsia, Nok Airlines, Thai Lion Air and THAI Smile, have all moved their domestic operations into Terminal 2.

Passenger growth through the entire Don Mueang facility was expected to jump by more than 30 percent during the New Year holiday season to around 110,000 passengers a day compared to the same period 2014.

Take-offs and landings have grown a whopping 20 percent in the last year to 650 a day.

Terminal 1 reached its handling capacity of 18.5 million passengers a year some time ago, with low-cost carriers flocking to Don Mueang. Expected passenger volume to have gone through Don Mueang for 2015 was around 28 million people, highlighting the need to re-open Terminal 2 as soon as it did, even allowing for the inevitable delays to passengers.

After February this year, the whole Don Mueang facility will be geared to handle up to 30 million passengers per annum. Obviously, this means Terminal 2 will only allow a brief window before it too is overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

AoT management have already flagged the need to look into further redevelopment of the site, which has a 101-year history of operating as an airport.

This redevelopment will take the form of what is already scheduled in as a Phase 3 scheme, which will modernize Terminal 1 and commence construction of a new passenger terminal connected to the planned Bang Sue-Rangsit rail link, also known as the Red Line.

Although that project is not yet a definite, if it does take place then Don Mueang’s capacity will jump to a capacity of 40 million passengers a year.

At present, around 30 percent of Don Mueang’s capacity is taken up with international passengers.