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Third runway approved for main airport

A PROPOSED third runway for Suvarnabhumi International Airport has cleared the final hurdle, with the Cabinet yesterday approving the Bt21.8 billion project.

The construction, to be overseen by the Airports of Thailand (AOT), is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Deputy government spokesman Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak said work is scheduled to begin this year. 

A plan for the construction of the taxiway B2 extension, at a cost of Bt622.33 million, was dropped. That decision enabled the overall cost of the project to be reduced from the originally envisaged Bt22.42 billion, Weerachon said.

A contract is expected to be signed after the Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) gains approval from the Office of National Environment Board. 

The third runway will enable 30 more flights per hour for Bangkok’s main airport. 

Its two runways can accommodate 64 flights an hour. 

The western runway is 3.7 kilometres long and the eastern one is 4km.

The two runways average 63 flights an hour during busy times. If an emergency occurs or a runway is closed for maintenance, total runway capacity will be almost halved to 34 flights an hour.

The 4 km third runway will be in the western part of the airport, the same side as the main warehouse and the current western runway. 

Once the third runway comes into service, it will also be used for cargo flights when the western runway is closed for maintenance. 

This project will include a navigation system, the construction of drainage system and fire and rescue stations.

Key infrastructure 

The project is part of Thailand’s transport infrastructure development plan from 2015. 

According to the Ministry of Finance, the AOT should apply appropriate risk management for the project. 

The third runway will provide a low rate of return and it will be 20 years before it breaks even.

The AOT will also coordinate with agencies such as Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd to plan construction of a fourth runway to cope with future air traffic, and set a standard to reduce any impact that may arise from delays and service quality of Suvarnabhumi airport.

The Nation

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