Home' Asian Aviation : AAV_Nov 2012 Contents 8 AsianAviation | NOVEMBER 2012
With considerable hoopla Don Mueang's
reopening at the start of October was
another sign that Thailand is consolidating
and reinvigorating its airports.
Highly symbolic was the presence of Air
Asia CEO Tony Fernandes who as much
as anybody by creating a thriving LCC
market catalyszed the need for airport
capacity much faster than planning had
allowed for. Don Mueang's rebooting, this
time as Bangkok's second airport and LCC
centre, is very much a result of the lower-
cost airlines boom as well as continued
Airports of Thailand make it clear that
Suvarnabhumi will remain the national hub
and gateway whilst Don Mueang will support
the LCC sector. The point according to an
Airports of Thailand statement is "so that
both airports are used as much as possible."
There are two reasons for this. Most
immediate is the belief that Thailand is set
for a bumper tourism numbers this year.
Longer term the ASEAN region is expected
to see strong growth.
Pushing aside questions about
competition Fernandes urged the Thai
authorities to follow the example of their
southern neighbour and cut airport charges
drastically. Malaysia did this but saw an
increase in volume which covered the fall
-- something Fernandes predicted would
happen in Thailand.
"I hope Airports of Thailand will reduce
the tax and make it an LCC airport like
Kuala Lumpur," Fernandes told reporters.
Thai AirAsia laid a stress on the benefits
Don Mueang brings to its customers. The
LCC has some 12 million passengers
annually all of whom will now move through
Don Mueang as opposed to the gateway
"This is a perfect place for a low-cost
airline to operate for many reasons," said
Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia.
"Less congestion and shorter taxi time
will result in less fuel consumption and less
delays. For our passengers, they will be
able to enjoy Don Mueang's close proximity
to the city and less time for the entire travel
process. At Don Mueang, it only takes 30
minutes from check-in to the boarding gate
and passengers will benefit from this hassle-
free experience", said the Bijleveld.
Don Mueang will also now be the base
for other LCCs such as Nok Air and Orient
Tax refund, duty-free and visa-on-arrival
services will all be available. There will
be 34 immigration counters dealing with
departures and 26 for arrivals. There is also
to be a free shuttle bus, the 555 service,
linking the two airports between 5am and
11pm. To underscore the connectivity some
3,000 taxis will be based at the airport.
Airports of Thailand believe that Don Muang
can supports 36.5 million passengers a year.
Less reported but no less significant are
developments at Phuket airport where work
is being done to raise passenger throughput
capacity from the current 6.5 million to
12.5 million within two years. Here the
approach is more conventional expand and
refurbishment rather than a restrategising as
is the case for Don Mueang.
Work is pricetagged at 5.14 billion baht
(US$168 million). The first stage will see
the apron expanded so it can support 21
DON MUEANG REOPENS
NEWS IN BRIEF
THY ORDERS 777
Turkish Airlines has made a "commitment"
to order 15 Boeing 777-300ERs. When
finalized, the agreement will be worth
US$4.7 billion at list prices and includes
options for five additional 777-300ERs.
MORE A330S FOR PAL
Philippine Airlines (PAL) has ordered ten
240 tonne high gross weight version Airbus
A330s, an order that the carrier says will
"complete" its medium-to-long range fleet
The order follows swiftly on the heels of
an order from the airline in August for 44
single aisle A321s and 10 A330s.
AIR BAGAN SEEKS MRO JV
Myanmar regional carrier Air Bagan is
interested in setting up a joint venture
with an MRO provider to service ATR
turboprop aircraft. The carrier hopes to
take advantage of the fact a significant
proportion of the Myanmar fleet is made
up of ATRs. However, a venture would
require a lifting of sanctions imposed by
the European Union and US against the
airline's parent company.
aircraft. The current terminal will become a
domestic facility with a new international one
being planned. - Michael Mackey
Thai AirAsia A320.
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