Thailand’s airports experience significant growth
The Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) recently released some impressive numbers for passenger traffic across the country, indicating just how significant inbound tourism has once again become for the health of the overall Thai economy.
According to the AoT figures, passenger traffic through major Thai airports continued grew by a significant 13.7 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Between January and the end of April, a total of 32.3 million passengers passed through six major airports, including Suvarnabhumi.
The reasons for the large jump in numbers can really be laid at the door of China, whose nationals now make up the number one source of tourists into Thailand.
The AoT also suggests Thailand’s general popularity as a global tourist destination has been boosted by a series of tourist promotion campaigns across the world as well as its current political stability.
Aircraft movements, not surprisingly, also rose in the first four months of the year. They totaled 197,913 take-offs and landings, which is 9.47 percent above the same time frame in 2015.
Four of the six AoT-operated airports recorded double-digit growth in the volumes of passengers departing and arriving. Thailand’s premier, and largest, airport, Suvarnabhumi, saw passenger traffic reach 15.3 million people, a significant rise of 8.03 percent. That growth could easily have been greater but was constrained by airport capacity rather than demand.
The southern gateway airport of Hat Yai showed the slowest growth with a 3.49 percent increase to 928,748 passengers.
Don Muang airport in Bangkok is currently ranked as Asia’s busiest low-cost carrier hub and it recorded the steepest growth among the six AoT-operated venues, with a 23.1 percent jump to 8.85 million people.
Phuket, which is Thailand’s third-busiest airport, saw a notable 18.7 percent growth to 4.26 million passengers, even though the airport has been plagued by severe congestion for some years now.
Both major northern airports recorded substantial growth. Chiang Rai airport saw 516,859 passengers pass through, which equates to an 18.8 percent surge, while Chiang Mai airport had 2.48 million passengers, a 14.6 percent rise.
In total, the AoT statistics at the six airports showed both international and domestic passenger traffic rises were virtually the same. International passenger traffic stood at 18.68 million, a 13.69 percent rise, while domestic traffic rose 13.8 percent to 13.6 million.
Notably, international aircraft movements were up 11.4 percent, outperforming domestic aircraft movements which only rose by 7.44 percent.
Cargo movements were practically the same as the same period last year, up by just 0.43 percent to 343,159, although Suvarnabhumi actually fell by 1.84 percent.