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Old June 21st, 2006, 03:28 PM   #541
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Thai airlines
ready to test new Bangkok airport

By Manager Online 21 June 2006 18:15



Bangkok, - THAILAND : (FILES) Photo taken 27 September 2005 shows a Thai airways aircraft taxiing to a terminal during a recent system test at the Suvarnabhumi airport, in Bangkok suburb. Thailand's domestic carriers are confident that Bangkok's new international airport can handle test flights next month, but say, 21 June 2006 they still doubt that all flights can move there in September. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL

by Nareerat Wiriyapong, June 21, 2006

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's domestic carriers are confident that Bangkok's new international airport can handle test flights next month, but say they still doubt that all flights can move there in September.

Six Thai airlines -- including flag carrier Thai Airways International, Thailand's biggest private airline Bangkok Airways and budget carrier Thai Air Asia -- will conduct test flights to the new airport on July 29.

To encourage passengers to buy tickets for the 24 flights, the airport authority has waived fees and airlines are offering steep discounts to destinations around Thailand.

"There will be flights flying from many destinations nationwide to the new airport on July 29, so people around the country can join the event," said Chotisak Asapaviriya, president of Airports of Thailand Plc.

Vasing Kittikul, Thai Airways' executive vice president, said ticket prices were slashed by 25-50 percent for the test flights to the new airport.

"They are real flights which anybody can take," he told reporters.

Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, whose name means "golden land" in Thai, has been in the works for more than 40 years but construction delays and claims of graft have repeatedly postponed its opening.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra insisted on Monday that the 3.7-billion-dollar airport would open to normal commercial traffic in September.

"On September 28, Suvarnabhumi will be fully functional and replace Don Muang as the country's main international airport," he told reporters.

"All the parties involved have confirmed their readiness for the new airport to open on September. Almost all of the problems had been fixed and the systems at the new airport comply with international standards."

But some airlines still question the opening date.

"The airport sill has day-to-day problems to overcome along the way," discount carrier Nok Air's executive president Sehapan Chumsai told AFP.

"The authorities are determined to stick to the scheduled opening date, but how much of their effort will translate into success is another question," he said.

Another airline source, who requested anonymity, said the date was not yet confirmed.

"We are still waiting for the authorities to confirm the opening date, but so far there has been many delays," the airline source said.

Thailand hopes the new airport, with an initial capacity of 45 million passengers annually, will surpass rivals Singapore and Malaysia as the region's most important hub.

The new airport, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of the capital, will relieve traffic congestion at Bangkok's current Don Muang airport which currently accommodates 38.5 million passengers annually although it was designed to handle only 36 million.

Thailand's cabinet Tuesday approved the creation of a new city in a 10-kilometer radius from the airport.

The planned city is expected to require an investment of 135 billion baht (3.5 billion dollars). Suvarnabhumi town would essentially be run as a new province, granted a special administrative status by the government.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 07:23 PM   #542
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Cabinet tabs Suvarnabhumi as 77th province

PRADIT RUANGDIT

The cabinet yesterday approved in principle a draft bill establishing the Suvarnabhumi metropolis as the country's 77th province despite a concern by Bangkok's governor of adverse effects on the capital. The metropolis is to be run by a governor, appointed by a prime minister-chaired panel, in the first four to eight years. It would then become a special administrative zone, run by an elected mayor and council. It would function as a special administrative organisation with status equal to a province.

Government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said turning the new Suvarnabhumi airport into an aviation and transport centre would be difficult without a new province to oversee development, now done by small local bodies with limited budgets and personnel.

However, Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin reaffirmed the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's objection to two of its districts _ Lat Krabang and Prawet _ being annexed by the new city.

He said there were fears of flood and environmental problems if the new province could not properly manage water. The two districts provided essential water drainage channels for Bangkok, he said.

He urged the government to instead focus on developing transport links to the new airport.

The draft law on the Suvarnabhumi metropolis has yet to be scrutinised by the Council of State and it requires endorsement from the new cabinet before being vetted by new parliament.

Under the draft bill, the Suvarnabhumi metropolis will cover 522 sq km of land, encompassing Lat Krabang and Prawet districts, as well as Bang Phli and Bang Sao Thong districts of Samut Prakan.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 01:33 AM   #543
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77TH PROVINCE
Opposition grows to Suvarnabhumi city


Samut Prakan residents, BMA against plan,which could become a 'political nightmare'


The government's ambitious project to set up a 77th province around the new airport has hit further strong opposition - from local residents, their political representatives, Bangkok administrators, and the Democrats.


But that has been the story since the day Cabinet gave the controversial plan the go ahead.


Alongkorn Polabutr, the Democrat Party's deputy leader, said yesterday subsequent projects to establish residential areas around Suvarnabhumi ran against international principles in urban development.


The airport and residential estates would occupy a vast space long used as a catchment basin for Bangkok during flood seasons.


Alongkorn called on the government to review the Cabinet decision on Tuesday to approve a draft bill establishing the new special administrative zone, and instead designate a special area to accommodate the airport.


"New airports worldwide are now built far away from populated areas. In some places buffer zones of five kilometres are built to keep the distance even further," he said.


Under the draft bill, the new metropolitan area will cover 521.7 square kilometres drawn from 176 sq km belonging to the two Bangkok districts of Lat Krabang and Prawet, and 345 sq km from Bang Phli district and Bang Sao Thong subdistrict in Samut Prakan.


Caretaker Senator Charoon Youngprapakorn from Samut Prakan said his constituents were unhappy with the scheme.


"The airport is our pride, but now the government wants to run it alone. It's now like a time-bomb waiting to explode if the government still goes ahead with its plan without asking for our approval," he said.


Assoc Prof Thanes Jaroenmuang, a political scientist at Chiang Mai University, said the four districts need not be grouped in the metropolitan area just to serve the purpose of efficiently operating an airport.


Including the four districts would create political nightmares if residents opposed it, he said.


The Bangkok Metropolitan Admin-istration (BMA) also disagreed with assigning two Bangkok districts to be supervised by Suvarnabhumi Metropolitan, saying the government was proceeding with the project without seeking input from the BMA.


Deputy city clerk Phichai Chaiyaphojphanich said Bangkok would become more prone to flooding after the catchment basin was used by the new city.


The BMA would also stand to lose some Bt300 million in taxes collected from residents and businesses in the two districts.


Phatthanaphong Jongrakdee, mayor of Bang Phli town, said a plan under the scheme to have the zone governed by a state-appointed commission was aimed at monopolising administrative power and was not fair to residents in the four districts, who were entitled to have a say in managing their affairs.


Somkhid Ruengaram, chairman of the Samut Prakan Chamber of Commerce, said Samut Prakan and its people had been overlooked despite the fact the province, which is packed with industrial estates, contributes huge revenues for the entire country each year.


A meeting of local administrative bodies will be held in Samut Prakan tomorrow to discuss the matter.


The session is expected to reach a conclusion that would allow for legal amendments to alter certain projects under the metropolitan scheme before it is formally implemented over the next few years.

The Nation
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 01:35 AM   #544
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New metropolis is a dubious proposal

PM's plan to develop the area around the new airport into a residential and tourist oasis is just more pie in the sky



The proposed establishment of a special administrative zone around Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of those fantastical ideas that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra first broached shortly after his government was battered by corruption scandals, particularly irregularities connected to the purchase of airport baggage-scanning machines. Fleshed out around last October, the proposal was reportedly met with an enthusiastic response by residents of Bang Sao Thong sub-district and Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan, and Lat Krabang and Prawet districts of Bangkok. These would be lumped together to form Thailand's 77th province.


With Suvarnabhumi Airport scheduled to open for commercial services on September 28, the caretaker Thaksin government has treated as a matter of great urgency the transformation of the area surrounding the new airport into a world-class metropolis through huge investments in infrastructure and tourism development. On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved in principle a draft Nakhon Suvarnabhumi Bill prepared by the Interior Ministry.


The government says the idea is to make sure Thailand achieves its objective of making Suvarnabhumi Airport one of Asia's main air-transport hubs. The creation of a special administrative zone would enable the government to bypass administrative and budgetary constraints that normally stand in the way of implementing this sort of mega-project, which requires centralised planning and an injection of at least Bt500 billion from the public and private sectors.


The proposed special administrative zone would cover 521 square kilometres, roughly the same size as Singapore, and is currently home to about 462,000 people.


Now that the Cabinet has approved the draft bill on Nakhon Suvarnabhumi, the Council of State will review it before public hearings are held to sound out local opinion. The Interior Ministry said it believed residents would respond positively to the proposal, because it would bring economic benefits and raise their living standard. The Nakhon Suvarnabhumi Bill will be submitted to the next government for possible review, before being sent to the next House of Representatives.


The bill stipulates that for the first four years, the proposed metropolis would be run by an Interior Ministry-appointed governor under the supervision of a 30-member administrative board chaired by the prime minister. After four years, the administrative board would be dissolved and the special administrative zone administered by a governor. It is still unclear what final administrative structure the special administrative zone would take after the initial four-year period.


One possibility is the proposed new metropolis would eventually evolve into a local administrative body with a high degree of autonomy and administered by an elected governor answerable to an elected assembly similar to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).


Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana even said Suvarnabhumi's special administrative zone would include new tourist attractions, such as a floating market in one of the existing waterways that are now used primarily as part of Bangkok's flood-prevention system to drain excess rainwater.


But not everyone was bowled over by the idea.


The BMA has made known its objection to the proposal. It reasons that the creation of a new administrative zone could compromise the capital's flood-prevention system if areas meant to serve as basins to hold excess rainwater or waterways designed to drain floodwater were altered by accelerated urbanisation in the proposed new metropolis.


The plan to attract international travellers to the special administrative zone should also be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the area around a major international airport is not exactly an oasis of peace and charm that tourists are eager to visit. Neither is yet another bogus floating market staged by greedy tourism developers.


The Thaksin administration must be reminded that as a caretaker government, it is not supposed to rush into proposals, especially with no functioning Parliament. Given Thaksin's dismal record as a leader severely tainted by corruption scandals and who has a penchant for populist policies that fly in the face of fiscal common sense, his plan for a new metropolis should be minutely scrutinised by a sceptical public.

The Nation
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 01:41 AM   #545
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Industry hopes for smooth opening
Don Muang airport decision welcomed


BOONSONG KOSITCHOTETHANA

Although airlines remain sceptical about whether Suvarnabhumi airport will be ready for commercial use on Sept 28, they have welcomed the government's decision to close Don Muang airport. Airlines and industry groups contacted by the Bangkok Post were not convinced that the new airport would open when scheduled and warned that rushing operations could result in costs and embarrassment for the country.


At a briefing on the airport's progress on Monday, caretaker prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced that the airport would open for commercial services on Sept 28.


Mr Thaksin also decided to revert to the original single-airport policy, which was not to retain Don Muang for scheduled domestic and low-cost carrier flights.


''It does not look like it will be ready and I am absolutely certain it cannot be opened on that date,'' said an aviation executive who has been closely monitoring the 125-billion-baht airport development.


The runways and terminal may be able to accommodate flights by Sept 28, but the airlines are unlikely to be ready by then, he said.


Contrary to what the authorities have suggested, it is not yet clear when airlines would be able to set up their offices at the Suvarnabhumi terminal and some don't even know where they will be located.


''That is just one simple matter, not to mention more much complex technical issues such as the computer and baggage systems, their readiness remains a mystery to us,'' he said.


Airlines need at least three months' notice to set up at the terminal.


''What is important is not the opening date, but to have Suvarnabhumi airport begin commercial operations only when it is operationally ready,'' said Albert Tjoeng, the Asia-Pacific spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents almost all of the world's airlines.


''This means having undergone the required robust and comprehensive testing and trials to ensure that the various systems are working 100% and are seamlessly integrated,'' he said.


''Let's not forget that airports are no longer the bricks and mortar of the old days, today's airports use incredibly complex automated systems.


''The airport will only be open once. We want it to be a safe and successful opening and cost-efficient in order to be a successful hub. No one wants the cost or embarrassment of a troubled opening.''


IATA yesterday welcomed the announcement that all commercial flights would be moved to Suvarnabhumi when it opens _ which it has long advocated.


But some budget carriers, especially Thai AirAsia, were not happy with the announcement. They had hoped Don Muang would have offered lower airport services and have greater flexibility than Suvarnabhumi.


''Commercial operations using two airports would have been costly to maintain, and can be complicated for passengers, especially for those making connections,'' said Mr Tjoeng.


''While having all flights at one airport would have a positive effect on Suvarnabhumi's potential as a hub, the more important issue is to ensure operational readiness and cost efficiency when Suvarnabhumi opens to maximise Bangkok's potential as a hub in the region.''

http://www.bangkokpost.com/
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Old June 25th, 2006, 03:27 AM   #546
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Cheap fares for test flights at Bangkok's new airport
22 June 2006

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Six Thai airlines are offering cut-price fares for flights on July 29 that will test the readiness of Bangkok's new international airport, flag carrier Thai Airways International said.

The newly built Suvarnabhumi Airport is scheduled to open at the end of September, replacing Bangkok's aging and overcrowded Don Muang airport.

Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai Airways International, Orient Thai Airlines and PB Air will be running test flights on a number of domestic routes, said Wasing Kittikul, a spokesman for Thai Airways.

Travelers eager to compare the two airports can take a 30-minute flight from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi for 999 baht (US$26; euro20).

For resort destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai, one-way economy class tickets will cost 1,999 baht (US$52; euro40); and round-trip tickets 3,999 baht (US$104; euro83).

Ticket sales open July 1.

Officials said last month that workers were rushing to fix runway cracks, a leaking roof and other problems ahead of the new airport's scheduled opening Sept. 28.
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Old June 27th, 2006, 05:57 AM   #547
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Bangkok's new airport set to bring big economic boost: analysts

BANGKOK, June 27, 2006 (AFP) - Despite doubts about exactly when Bangkok's new international airport will open, analysts say Suvarnabhumi Airport will start providing a major boost to Thailand's economy by the end of the year.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has announced that the 3.7 billion dollar airport will begin handling all the capital's commercial traffic from September 28.

Analysts and airlines say that might be optimistic, but everyone agrees that by December the new airport will begin helping Thailand to cash in on rebounding tourism while sparking major new development around the facility.

Thailand's airport authority reported a 19 percent increase in inbound and outbound tourist traffic to more than 22 million in the first five months of the year over the same period in 2005.

"But so far, Thailand's capability to catch up with rebounded tourism is limited as capacity at Don Muang is 30 percent over utilised," said Chotisak Asapaviriya, president of Airports of Thailand Plc.

The existing airport handles 38.5 million passengers a year, although it was designed to handle only 36 million.

That limited capacity at the ageing and overstretched Don Muang will hinder the growth of Thai tourism until the new airport opens, Capital Nomura Securities said in a recent report.

Suvarnabhumi, which means "Golden land" in Thai, will have an initial capacity of 45 million passengers annually, which Thailand hopes will help it beat out rivals Singapore and Malaysia as the region's most important hub.

In addition to boosting Thailand's tourism industry, which already accounts for six percent of gross domestic product, the government also expects the airport's opening to set off a building boom in the region.

The airport site, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of the city, was sparsely populated farm land before construction began.

But the National Economic and Social Development Board, a government think tank, expects 300,000 people to move there in the next 10 years as support businesses relocate.

"Suvarnabhumi could bring about new economic activities around the airport site," said Suwat Wanisubut, who monitors the airports development for NESDB.

To prepare for the sudden influx of people and businesses, the government plans to carve out a new province for the region, stretching about 10 kilometers (six miles) around the airport.

The government plans to spend some 135 billion baht (3.5 billion dollars) on building roads, sewers and other infrastructure for the planned "Suvarnabhumi Metropolis", including a 26-billion-baht rail link to Bangkok.

That figure doesn't include private spending on new hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that would spring up nearby.

The building plan has sparked controversy in the capital, where the city's opposition governor fears the development could come at Bangkok's expense.

Other critics of Thaksin have accused the billionaire premier of floating the plan purely to boost land speculation around the airport.

Despite agreements on the airport's benefits, analysts remain skeptical about a September 28 opening, saying a date in the fourth quarter is more likely because of delays in testing new computer systems.

"Also, the international airlines demand that the new airport only begin operating when it is completely ready. That could delay the opening, but the worst case we expect is the first quarter of next year," one airport analyst said on condition of anonymity.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents some 250 airlines, said the government and airlines should work together to agree on a start date.

"It is important for Suvarnabhumi Airport to open for commercial use only when it is operationally ready. No one wants the cost or embarrassment of a trouble opening," IATA spokesman Albert Tjoeng said from his Singapore office.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 06:27 PM   #548
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http://www.tangential.de/tangential-en/index.htm





















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Old July 21st, 2006, 08:00 PM   #549
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Will there be a golf course between the runways at this new airport?

The course at Don Muang looks pretty awesome from Google Earth, does anyone have pics of it from ground level?

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Old July 21st, 2006, 09:07 PM   #550
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kick-a** airport!!
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Old July 21st, 2006, 09:15 PM   #551
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Fusion
Will there be a golf course between the runways at this new airport?

The course at Don Muang looks pretty awesome from Google Earth, does anyone have pics of it from ground level?

Simply get inside Thai Forum.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 01:27 AM   #552
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I will see you there.

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Old July 22nd, 2006, 04:17 AM   #553
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..ss

Quote:
Originally Posted by sloid
kick-a** airport!!
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 05:04 AM   #554
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NBIA looks like a tent - on a grand scale.

Mr. Fusion, one of the holes on that golf course is called "Quantas Approach" because one of their planes once scored a hole in one
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 05:56 AM   #555
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Now I almost hate to see Don Muang closed...
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 12:18 PM   #556
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Budget terminal designed

BOONSONG KOSITCHOTETHANA

Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is quickly gearing up to build a special terminal for budget airlines _ an idea first floated just one month ago _ at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Management has completed the conceptual design and will seek approval within two weeks from the AoT board to start construction on the terminal.

It would be the third in Asia to serve the fast growing low-cost carrier (LCC) market, after those in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The facility could be built in just six months at an estimated cost of 600 million baht, AoT president Chotisak Asapaviriya said yesterday.

Welcomed by no-frills carriers, the facility would be a single storey with usable space of 15,000 to 20,000 square metres, the size of 2.3 to three standard football pitches.

It would be capable of handling 15 million passengers a year, much larger than Malaysia's LCC Terminal (LCCT) and Singapore's Budget Terminal, both opened earlier this year, which can handle 10 million and 2.7 million passengers a year, respectively.

The facility would be located near concourse A of the main Suvarnabhumi passenger terminal and would be built using a simple construction technique.

AoT would attempt a design that would blend with the futuristic look of the overall airport, Mr Chotisak said.

He brushed aside suggestions that AoT had rushed into the LCC terminal to benefit a certain budget carrier with political influence.

The airport operator, he said, was moving rapidly to accommodate the fast-growing traffic of LCCs through Bangkok as well as ease the demand on the main terminal at Suvarnabhumi.

LCC traffic is expected to double from 7-8 million passengers this year to 15 million in the next two years, he said.

Transport authorities and aviation experts say the capacity of Suvarnabhumi's main terminal, at 45 million passengers a year, would be reached a few years after its opening, now slated for Sept 28.

Growing LCC traffic has already contributed to congestion at the existing Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang) which is stretched beyond its annual capacity of 37 million passengers.

Mr Chotisak said the original plan of the 125-billion-baht Suvarnabhumi airport did not take into account LCCs, which have emerged from nowhere over the last five years.

No-frills carriers, he said, did not require sophisticated reservation and IT systems such as those put in place for conventional airlines at the main terminal. As a result, they could keep their operating costs low by using a special terminal without the complex and costly facilities.

However, AoT said there would be no discounts on landing fees for LCCs as it was determined to apply a unified rate structure for all users of Suvarnabhumi.

The Suvarnabhumi budget terminal will have a similar operating concept as those in Malaysia and Singapore, in that passenger service facilities will be kept to a minimum with passengers having to walk on the tarmac to the aircraft.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/
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Old July 25th, 2006, 10:43 AM   #557
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OMG!!!!! This July 29th is coming soon, really excited!!!
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Old July 25th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #558
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It's actually scheduled to open July 29th? Wow, it's finally happening!
I'm flying into Bangkok several times a year, and I can't wait to see the new airport!
I wonder what the new Thai Royal Orchid Lounge will look like!

Will any public transportation (metro/BTS/express trains) be ready to serve the airport immediately, or are these connections still under construction? I don't like the hazzle finding and riding a taxi on Bangkok's clogged highways!
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Old July 28th, 2006, 06:12 AM   #559
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Thailand hopes test flights will ease new airport concerns

BANGKOK, July 28, 2006 (AFP) - The first paying passengers arrive Saturday at Bangkok's new international airport on test flights the government hopes will put to rest concerns about its readiness to open in two months.

Industry groups however remain skeptical that the 3.7-billion-dollar Suvarnabhumi Airport will be ready to open as scheduled on September 28, and warned that the test flights will not prove whether it can handle heavy commercial traffic.

Six Thai airlines will conduct 20 domestic flights in and out of Suvarnabhumi on Saturday, with carriers offering special discounts to passengers to try out the new airport.

"We are totally ready for the test flights, with full safety preparations for any emergency in the passenger terminal or (on) the runway," the airport's general manager Somchai Sawasdeepon told AFP.

"The test flights will be the key indication that Suvarnabhumi Airport is ready for commercial operations," he said.

Plans for Suvarnabhumi, whose name means "Golden Land" in Thai, have been in the works for four decades, but construction problems and allegations of graft have repeatedly delayed it.

The delays have left the existing Don Muang airport overstretched, serving 38.5 million passengers a year -- more than two million beyond its capacity.

The government hopes that Suvarnabhumi, with an initial capacity for 45 million passengers a year, will edge out rivals Singapore and Malaysia as the region's most important hub.

The new airport should also help Thailand keep pace with the growing number of tourists visiting the country every year.

"All the Thai airlines are ready to make the new airport as our new home," Thai Airway's executive vice president Vasing Kittikul told AFP.

"We want to show the international airlines that the new airport is ready for commercial operations."

But the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 250 airlines, said the test flights would do little to prove whether the airport is ready to handle normal commercial traffic.

"It is normal for trial flights to be conducted before an airport is opened to demonstrate the integrity of the procedures. However, it does not test the airport's ability to handle heavy traffic," Albert Tjoeng, an IATA spokesman in Singapore, told AFP.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents has also cast doubt on the September opening.

"We still believe that the new airport could be ready for commercial use in six months' time. That means December," ATTA president Apichart Sankary said.

The government has already struggled to overcome other complaints about the airport.

Discount carriers, who carried seven million passengers through Bangkok last year, complained that the higher operating costs at Suvarnabhumi would cripple their operations and had lobbied to remain at Don Muang.

To win them over, the airport authority agreed earlier this month to build a special terminal for them, similar to ones already open in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, at a cost of nearly 16 million dollars.

Plans to develop the land around the airport have also become mired in controversy.

The government's 3.5-billion-dollar scheme to build what it calls a "Suvarnabhumi Metropolis" have been assailed by Bangkok city leaders, who fear the development will come at the expense of the capital.

The project includes a rail link into Bangkok, as well as roads, sewers and other infrastructure for the companies, hotels and other businesses that will gravitate towards the new airport.

But critics contend that the plan is an elaborate scheme for the wealthy to cash in on land speculation in the area.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 04:34 AM   #560
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SUVARNABHUMI MINISTER'S REACTION TO REPORT
AoT confident airport will be safe for September opening
AMORNRAT MAHITTHIROOK



Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) has attended to risk areas at Suvarnabhumi airport and is confident that it will be safe for the commercial opening set for Sept 28, caretaker Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said yesterday.


He was commenting on a report by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on the eve of a test run for 21 local flights today.


The ICAO report identified 93 risk areas, including a lack of safety at the ends of runways.


Mr Pongsak said the risks the ICAO had identified were based on information that was not up-to-date.


To boost public confidence in the airport's safety, the Aviation Department would confer with the ICAO again with the latest available information.


''On checking the report, we found that the document had been circulated since June, which means the information may date back to several months before,'' Mr Pongsak said.


The AoT had attended to all the issues raised and was now ''ready and confident'' in the airport's safety, he said.


According to a copy of the ICAO report which was obtained by the Bangkok Post, the findings were based on information collected and observations made between June and early July.


One item the report questions is the ''runway-end safety areas''.


According to Aviation Department director-general Chaisak Angkasuwan, the ICAO in 2004 issued a new standard that a runway-end safety area must be 90 metres long.


At Suvarnabhumi airport, runway-end safety areas currently measure only 60 metres long, he said. But he said there was enough space to build the extensions required.


The Aviation Department, which is a consulting client of the ICAO, has issued an Interim Aerodrome Certificate for the landing and operation tests being conducted today by local airlines.


But the airport needs a permanent certificate approved by the ICAO for its Sept 28 commercial opening

Saturday July 29, 2006
http://www.bangkokpost.com/
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