Third Bangkok Airport Proposed
Officials consider Nakhon Pathom site for B20bn facility to ease pressure on Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang
Nakhon Pathom province, west of Bangkok, has been proposed as a new airport site, announced the Airports Department. This is to relieve congestion at the capitals’ two main airports in Bangkok.
The location site is 3,500 Rai straddling Bang Len and Nakhon Chaisi districts and would cost 20-billion baht. Jarun Meesomboon, the department’s deputy director-general, stated that it would take about four years to build.
The Transport Ministry will receive the proposal for review, he announced on Saturday.
“The investment could be in the form of a public-private joint venture or a state-owned project, pending further study,” he said.
Drawn by a very high economic internal rate of return of 20%, or EIRR, many private groups have shown enthusiasm in the project.
“We project more than 1 million passengers a year initially, with potential on par with key regional airports such as Khon Kaen and Surat Thani airports,” he said.
To be able to draft future terms of reference a hearing will be held in August to study additional information and suggestions.
Construction could begin as early as 2023 if approved, with the airport in operation 2-3 years later.
First proposed in 1973, Suvarnabhumi Airport was shelved amid the political turmoil of the 1970s. It was not until 1996 that work began on the airport when New Bangkok International Airport Company was formed. Ten years later, in 2006, the airport opened.
Now bursting at the seams, Suvarnabhumi handles 70 million passengers a year at a site that was designed for 40 million. A second terminal planned at 42-billion baht was shelved recently. The authorities said it departed too much from the original master plan. A new approached is currently being deliberated.
It is projected that if the Nakkhon Pathom airport is built it will be able to handle 25 million passengers a year.
The location of the new airport is less the 50 kilometers from downtown Bangkok. This location, coupled with the access to the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi motorway, gives the airport high potential, said Mr. Jarun.
The new airport can support Asean services in addition to domestic flights.
“Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi are struggling to find slots and serve private jets. The new airport will accommodate commercial airlines, private jets, chartered flights, helicopters and survey services,” he said.
A study has shown that the site has the least dense population – 200 households on 400 plots. Acquiring the land for land expropriation shouldn’t be hard.
“In any case, we’ll conduct an EIA [environmental impact assessment report] simultaneously with public hearings among people in the area,” he added.