Home' Asian Aviation : AAV November 2011 Contents EXPANSION WORK on Bangkok’s
Suvarnhabumi Airport will be delayed as
the project, which was approved in August
2010 by Thailand’s previous government
is to be reviewed by newly-elected Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
According to a Ministry of Finance
official, it is a matter of routine for the new
administration to be briefed on the project,
as work on the expansion has yet to start.
The official could not say when the briefing
will take place.
The ministry holds a 71 percent stake
in Airports of Thailand (AOT), the agency
that manages Suvarnabhumi and five other
major airports in the country.
After three changes of government
in four years, the previous Thai Cabinet
approved the 62.5 billion baht (US$1.95
billion) expansion plan. Construction
was scheduled to start in January 2012,
for completion late in 2015, increasing
passenger-handling capacity at the airport
by 20 million, to 65 million.
The project involves the construction
of a second satellite building linked by an
underground, automated people-mover
system to the existing terminal. The satellite
building will also house airline offices.
The new concourse is to accommodate 28
aircraft, including four positions designed
for Airbus A380 ‘Superjumbos’. Two new
taxiways are also to be constructed.
With the latest review, AOT will push
for a domestic terminal and possibly a
third runway, to help ease congestion at
the airport in the long term. Both these
proposals were shot down by the previous
government, because of a lack of funds.
With the project delayed, the airport is now
expected to suffer congestion for at least
another five to six years.
For the fiscal year ended 30 September,
Suvarnabhumi handled 47.3 million
passengers, an increase of 10.84 percent
“This is exceeded design capacity by 2.3
million passengers and it has been extremely
difficult dealing with the congestion,” says
acting AOT President Somchai Sawasdipol.
The AOT chief acknowledges that work
on the expansion should have started three
years ago, and that the airport was built
without sufficient planning for long-term
growth. AOT expects passenger numbers at
Suvarnabhumi to increase to 49.4 million in
2012, growing steadily year-by-year to 68
million in 2017.
Suvarnabhumi opened for operations on
28 September 2006. The airport project
was originally conceived in 1966, but was
shelved with the overthrow of the military
government in 1973, then not reopened
The start of construction was approved
in November 2001 by then-Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra, elder brother of the
current PM. –William Dennis
14 AsianAviation | NOVEM BER 2011
AIRASIA HAS abandoned plans to form a new
low-cost carrier (LCC) in a joint venture with
Hanoi-based VietJet Aviation Stock Company
(VietJet), with the expiry of the period within which
regulatory requirements had to be fulfilled.
The unmet conditions, required by the share-
purchase and shareholders’ agreement, included
obtaining regulatory approval for VietJet to use
the AirAsia brand in its commercial operations.
The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam in
Hanoi, overseen by the Ministry of Transport,
opposed the use of the AirAsia brand since VietJet
was the majority stake holder in the company,
with 70 percent, with AirAsia holding the
remaining 30 percent.
The transport ministry approved the share
structure on 9 February last year, and the joint
venture agreement between AirAsia and VietJet
was signed the following day in Hanoi. The new
airline was to be known VietJet AirAsia.
This is the second setback in AirAsia’s efforts to
set up a joint-venture LCC outside Malaysia. Similar
plans in Bangladesh were abandoned, when talks
with the prospective partner ended in a deadlock.
Separately, Philippines AirAsia (PAA) is poised to
start operations on 1 November with its first Airbus
A320 jetliner, delivered to the airline in August.
To be based at the Diosdado Macapagal
International Airport in Clark, the former US
military base, PAA will initially fly to Singapore,
Hong Kong and Macau. Bangkok, Seoul, Kalibo
and Puerto Princessa, both popular beach resorts
in the Philippines will be added to the network
when a second aircraft is delivered in December.
The fleet will be expanded to four aircraft in
2012, and the carrier expects to operate 15 A320s
within five years of starting operations.
PAA is a joint venture involving AirAsia and three
Filipino investors: Marianne Hontiveros, Antonio
Cojuangco Jr and Michael Romero each hold 20
percent of the company, with the remaining 40
percent owned by AirAsia.
PAA is AirAsia’s third LCC venture in South-
East Asia – the other two being Thai AirAsia and
Indonesia AirAsia. PAA is expected to compete
directly with Philippines-based LCC Cebu Pacific
Air, which also offers flights to Macau, Singapore
and Hong Kong from Clark. –William Dennis
Bangkok airport expansion faces delays
Bangkok’s main airport is likely to suffer congestion for five to six more years.
28/10/11 8:23 PM
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