AoT kicks upgrades into overdrive

19 กันยายน 2557, 0:02 น.

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AoT kicks upgrades into overdrive

Management at Airports of Thailand (AoT) must shorten the delay that has plagued upgrades of Bangkok's Don Mueang and Phuket airports to next July.

The ultimatum was issued by chairman Prasong Poontaneat, who wants AoT to bring forward the dates of completion for the work as it seems to be taking longer than expected. The refurbished airports would allow AoT to catch up with surging traffic demand at the two sites.

Until recently, the multibillion-baht expansions of Don Mueang and Phuket airports were scheduled for November and October 2015, respectively.

"There has been a considerable delay already and the work must now be expedited," said Mr Prasong.

Work on the Phuket airport's 5.7-billion-baht expansion, which is 20 months behind schedule, was ordered to take place both day and night. Contractors there cited rain for obstructing work, but work only took place during the day, he said.

Mr Prasong, also director-general of the Revenue Department, said bids for work related to the renovation of passenger Terminal 2 and associated facilities at Don Mueang needed to be restarted to ensure greater transparency and fairness.

The use of a so-called "special" procurement process, a shortcut to find contractors and suppliers for the 2-billion-baht scheme aimed at getting the project up and running by next month, has been dropped in favour of a normal bidding method. A total of 29 categories of work involved in the renovation are to be regrouped into four to five clusters to tighten bidding processes for contractors and suppliers.

Though traffic at Don Mueang has reached capacity for the existing Terminal 1, the AoT chairman is optimistic T2 will be completed in time for projected incremental demand increases.

The renovation will raise Don Mueang's annual passenger handling capacity to 30 million from 18.5 million rendered by existing facilities and T1.

Former AoT president Makin Petplai said Don Mueang's passenger traffic was expected to reach 19 million by the end ofthis year, as low-cost carriers step up flights through the airport during the post-coup recovery in tourism.

Passenger traffic at Phuket is projected to soar to 12.5 million by the end of this year, almost doubling the 6.5 million annual capacity presently available.

Meanwhile, Mr Prasong said the revised plan for the expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport could be up and running by 2018.

The plan, estimated to cost 24 billion baht, involves the construction of a combined domestic-international passenger terminal and a 1.5-kilometre people-mover rail system linked to the current terminal. This blueprint is meant to be a cost-effective way to meet projected additional capacity requirements at the airport.