The Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) has decided to demolish Don Mueang International Airport’s old terminal and build a new one to accommodate soaring international passenger numbers.
The board approved the demolition plan, AoT general manager Suthirawat Suwanawat said after a recent meeting. The proposed new terminal is part of a 34 billion THB megaproject to expand Don Mueang from 2020 to 2025, to keep up with the expected increase in passengers at the airport. The old terminal, set to be called Terminal 3 once construction is complete, will be in addition to Don Mueang’s current Terminals 1 and 2, which serve international and domestic passengers, respectively.
“The original plan for the old terminal was to renovate it, but the building, which is two floors high, is not suitable to turn into an international terminal,” Wg Cdr Suthirawat said. “Such a building would have to have at least three to four floors to accommodate extra functions that international operations have.” According to AoT data, the number of international passengers rose by 20.8% last year compared to only a 2.6% increase in domestic passengers. Designing Terminal 3 will take 10 months to complete and building it a further two years. Scheduled to open in 2021, the terminal will be able to service 40 million passengers a year, Wg Cdr Suthirawat said.
The old building is located between the airport’s seven-storey vehicle parking building and the airport bridge, the entrance for which is located by the Don Mueang fuel depot on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. It was decommissioned in 2006 following the closure of Don Mueang airport when Suvarnabhumi airport was launched in Samut Prakan.
Don Mueang was reopened in 2012 due to a change of policy by the then government, which wanted it to serve booming low-cost airlines. However, the old building has remained unused to date. Part of the new terminal will also link to the SRT Red Line network, currently under construction, and the planned high-speed railway set to connect Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports in Rayong.
In addition to the planned new terminal, AoT has been planning to construct a new building beside Terminal 1’s parking lot to be used for group check-ins, citing the yearly increase in group tours arriving in the country. “One of the main reasons for passenger congestion at Don Mueang is group check-ins, which account for around 30-40% of the total number of check-ins each day,” Wg Cdr Suthirawat said.
According to him, the planned building will be three stories high, complete with a hallway and resting area for group tours, and will be able to service around 3,000 passengers an hour. AoT reports state that other plans include constructing two new road lanes inside the airport, parallel to the current elevated roads inside Don Mueang, to ease traffic congestion. Bangkok Post