2 Thai carriers to share new terminal
Thai Airways International (THAI) and Bangkok Airways may have the planned new passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport all to themselves.
That idea was adopted as part of the modified expansion of Bangkok's primary gateway airport that Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) approved last month.
The state-controlled airport operator also wants to cluster carriers that belong to airline alliances such as Oneworld and SkyTeam in the same areas at the existing terminal.
"Because we'll have more space [from the new terminal], we can rearrange things to make our airport more service-friendly to airlines and passengers," AoT acting president Nirandra Theeranatsin told the Bangkok Post.
The idea of dedicating a terminal to home carriers and grouping airlines in one location has been embraced by several major hub airports in Europe, the US and Japan to smoothen operations and enhance connectivity. For instance, Oneworld airlines serving Tokyo's Narita airport are located at its Terminal 2.
Mr Nirandra said the new terminal at Suvarnabhumi would also be home to the flag carrier's budget subsidiary, THAI Smile, although the bulk of its capacity would be consumed by THAI and Bangkok Airways.
The new terminal will cost an estimated 27.7 billion baht and have the capacity to handle 20 million passengers a year.
It will have floor space of 265,000 square metres in a four-storey structure serving domestic and international passengers.
The terminal is slated to open in early 2019 along with a third runway estimated to cost 20.2 billion baht.
The current area occupied by THAI, at the "A" check-in area on the fourth floor of the terminal, will be given to member airlines of the Star Alliance.
New York-based Oneworld, an alliance of 15 of the world's leading airlines including American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, welcomed AoT's initiative.
"Oneworld's strategy is to bring our members together in a single terminal at all key hubs whenever opportunities allow and wherever it makes business sense," said Michael Blunt, vice-president for corporate communications.