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The Airports of Thailand Plc wants to take over the operations of 15 other provincial airports after a study shows that a large number of foreign tourists want to fly out of the country directly from the provinces.
Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, the AoT president, said the AoT executive board agreed at a meeting to submit the result of a study on the operation of a network of airports under a single operator strategy to the transport minister for consideration before it is forwarded to the cabinet.
Of the country’s 39 airports, six are now being operated by the AoT with a market share of 86%, while the others by the Department of Airports.
The study shows that about 16.2 million passengers travelling to other airports in the region must stop over at 15 airports under the Department of Airports, including the Nan, Udon Thani and Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat airports, to take transit flights.
If the AoT could operate all airports under the same strategy, it operation would be more efficient. The AoT would take over the administrations and personnel of the Department of Airports while the airports would still be state property.
Mr Nitinai said the AoT would select only the airports which can serve as a regional hub and improve them to meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to receive flights from abroad.
If the Transport Ministry and the cabinet agreed with the proposal, the AoT’s strategy and investment plan for 2019 might have to be reviewed. He believed this would not affect the AoT’s revenue although it might have to take over the operations of some airports operating at a loss.