Thai Airways International prepares for First Two Aircraft Landings at new Suvarnabhumi Airport
14 September 2005
Thai Airways International is preparing for its newest Airbus A340-600 aircraft to fly His Excellency Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister and members of the Thai Cabinet, together with members of the Managing Committee for the Development at Suvarnabhumi Airport, as the first aircraft to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport. In addition, THAI has arranged to utilize one of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft to fly more than 400 guests and members of the press to the new airport.
What will be the first Technical Test Flight to Suvarnabhumi Airport is scheduled to take place 29 September 2005.
In preparation of landing the two aircraft at Suvarnabhumi Airport, THAI has arranged to migrate Ground Handling Equipment, such the Air Conditioning Tractor (ACT), Ground Power Unit (GPU), Air Starter Unit (ASU), etc. from Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang) to Suvarnabhumi Airport for the First Technical Test Flight. In addition, THAI has prepared for its Ground Customer Services staff to test the check-in systems and facilitate all passengers re-boarding for the return flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport. THAI has also prepared technicians and engineering staff as well as aircraft maintenance equipment to support this historical event.
As the 29th September 2005 will mark the first landing of THAI's aircraft at Suvarnabhumi Airport, THAI has designed a special boarding pass and souvenir for all passengers traveling on this special flight.
Thai Min: New Bangkok Airport To Open Between Jun, Oct'06
14 September 2005
BANGKOK (Dow Jones)--Thai Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said Thursday that Bangkok's new international airport will open for commercial operations in June of next year at the earliest and October at the latest.
The exact timing of the opening will depend on progress in inspections by the International Civil Aviation Organization, Pongsak said on the sidelines of a seminar on business opportunities in the area surrounding the new airport.
All major construction work at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport will be completed and ready for a test run with the first technical flights scheduled for Sept. 29, he said.
"After the first technical flights, it will take several months to check all the systems at the airport to ensure that everything meets the required international standards," Pongsak told reporters.
The government had previously set the opening date for the new airport on Sept. 29. The commercial opening has been pushed back due to delays in construction works. Several operating systems and a surrounding road network also haven't been completed.
Thai Airways International PCL (THAI.TH), the national carrier, said in a statement late Wednesday that it has prepared two aircraft to fly Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, cabinet members, and 400 honored guests on the test flights to land at the new airport on Sept. 29.
Pongsak said the government plans to promote the new airport as a regional hub for air traffic, for both passengers and cargo.
"We have the geographical advantage to become the regional aviation hub. We will try our best to move toward that direction," said Pongsak.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is designed to accommodate up to 45 million passengers per year, 76 flights an hour, and more than 3 million tons of cargo per year.
The new airport, 45 kilometers east of Bangkok, will take over much of the traffic from the city's existing Bangkok International Airport in Don Muang just north of the capital, which has run out of room to expand after several upgrades in the past three decades.
Security concerns have forced the Transport Ministry to cancel all activities planned at Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Sept 29, when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is scheduled to lead a high-profile delegation on the first flight to land at the new airport in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district. Due to concerns that it may generate unnecessary additional work for authorities responsible for security, Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal decided to call off a planned mini-marathon event, which was last month announced as one of the highlights. Mr Thaksin was expected to lead the runners on to the runway after touching down during a landing test. There were concerns that runners may not respect access rules on the site and that the event may cause a mess.
Mr Thaksin is due to arrive at the airport on an Airbus and will then watch from the passenger building a second Boeing plane with members of the press on board touch down. Only the eastern runway will be used, the minister said.
Following the landing test, Suvarnabhumi will remain closed to the public. The airport is expected to be officially opened in the middle of next year, once all systems have been tested and approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Sept 29 was originally set by the government as the date the airport would open its gates to passengers, but a construction delay forced the administration to change the plan. Mr Pongsak said the airport would demonstrate the CTX 9000 luggage bomb detectors on Sept 29. All of the 26 machines have been installed at the airport. The detectors caused a major furore over allegations of graft due to excessive costs. This led to former transport minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit being replaced by Mr Pongsak in a cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Pongsak pressed airport agency officials for improved measures to prevent further damage at the airport site, where several items had been stolen, including electric cables and wire, steel and cement. He called for urgent action to find those responsible for the thefts.
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