Pattaya Daily News

18 February 2007 :: 08:02:57 am 25944

Foreign airlines reject move to Don Muang

BANGKOK, Feb 17– International air carriers have rejected calls to move some of their flights back to Bangkok’s old airport at Don Muang to ease congestion while repairs are carried out at the new airport, saying they preferred Suvarnabhumi as the main hub.
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Meanwhile, the key aviation committee, chaired by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, resolved Friday to keep Bangkok’s new airport open during repairs to its cracked taxiways and runways.

The committee was informed by the Transport Ministry that although numerous cracks appeared on most of the taxi areas, the taxiways and the runways had experienced minor damage as underground water in the sand layer under the tarmac caused subsidence and cracks on the surface.

Yongyuth Mayalarp, Thai government spokesman, told a press conference that the damage would not pose safety risks to aircraft taking off and landing at the new airport.

“Part of the west runway and the taxiways would be closed for repairs between two weeks and two months depending on the scale of the problem. We do not have to shut down the entire facility,” Mr Yongyuth said.

Problems to the terminal building such as the roof-top lighting system and the faulty air bridges were classified as “not critical”. Repairs were ongoing and would be completed soon, he added.

According to the spokesman, almost all 60 airlines said during a meeting Friday that they would prefer to keep all their flights at Suvarnabhumi as they wanted to see the facility as Bangkok’s sole international aviation hub.

The meeting was called to discuss the government plan to operate two international airports for Bangkok.

A total of only 71 domestic and charter flights without international connections, operated by just three carriers — Nok Air, One Two Go and some Thai Airways services – will begin flying out of Don Muang next month, six months after the 90-years-old airport closed to commercial traffic.

The spokesman said the decision would ease heavy air traffic at Suvarnabhumi by 17 per cent. Nine airlines affiliated with Star Alliance that fly into and out of Bangkok daily – including Thai Airways, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines and United Airlines – will all continue to operate from the glossy new showcase airport, built on former swampland at a cost of almost US$4-billion over 10 years. It was opened in September last year.

They called on the government to draw up a long term airport development plan with fully-integrated transport links between the two airports if it intended to reactivate Don Muang as a second hub for Bangkok.

 

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Tourism News

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