The Thai tourism sector is on the path of recovery, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand expects that, in 2024, Thailand will return to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of international arrivals. Today, a great number of international tourists enter Thailand through various international airports, such as Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, and U-Tapao airports.
Before the spread of COVID-19, these airports had accommodated passengers at full levels, even beyond their capacities. The Government has a long-term plan to develop air transport networks, so that they will be sufficient to accommodate more passengers, which are expected to reach 200 million a year by 2031.
The development of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Phase 2, comprising the construction of a Satellite-1 (SAT-1) building, is now completed, and is scheduled to be opened in 2023. The building will have the capacity to handle up to 60 million people per year, from 45 million people currently.
As for the development of the third runway, it is being constructed and will be completed in 2024. When completed, Suvarnabhumi Airport will have the capacity to handle 94 flights per hour, from 68 flights currently.
The development of Don Mueang Airport, Phase 3, was approved by the Cabinet on 29 November 2022. It aims to increase the passenger handling capacity of the airport and develop its services for greater efficiency, as well as reducing traffic congestion on the ground within the airport. It is also intended to connect with the new railway transport system to be developed in the future.
Today, the existing two passenger terminals at Don Mueang Airport can accommodate up to 30 million passengers a year. The development of Don Mueang Airport, Phase 3, will enable the airport to accommodate up to 40 million passengers annually.
The development of U-Tapao Airport aims to accommodate increased economic activities in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and consists of four phases. Phase 1 will be completed in 2024 and will have the capacity to handle up to 15.9 million passengers a year. Phase 4, to be completed in 2055, will enable the airport to handle up to 60 million passengers a year.
The development of Phuket Airport, Phase 2, aims to expand the airport’s capacity to 18 million passengers a year, from 12.5 million passengers currently. The project is being designed in detail.