Thailand’s THB 62.5-billion project to expand Suvarnabhumi International Airport is likely to start this year, hoping for an expected passenger capacity handling to increase by 15 – 60 million.
The Airport of Thailand Plc (AoT) board is expected to appoint a project management consultant (PMC) next month and endorse at its May 17 one of the three firms vying for the lead role in the project. Somchai Sawasdeepon, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport said that the project management consultant will finalise the design and choosing contractors to begin the project.
The process of selection the PMC was delayed a number of times due to complications and technicalities. The bidding for the project has been announced three times before it attracted adequate bidders of three- PCBK International, Index International and TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management. The first two bidding consisted of only one company that submitted the proposal.
The expansion of Suvarnabhumi, which was supposed to commence soon after the airport was opened in September 2006, has been delayed largely by the government’s inability to formulate a long-term airport policy. It has been debating what to do with Don Mueang airport and whether the facility should be used to take the pressure off Suvarnabhumi.
No decision has been reached on the matter, but the Suvarnabhumi expansion programme was nevertheless given the go-ahead in August 2010 and has progressed quite slowly since then.
The construction required to increase capacity will take six years. However, due to the urgency of enlarging the airport, Sawasdeepon said the authorities will try to shorten the development period.
Congestion at Suvarnabhumi, one of Asia’s busiest airports, has been worsening. The facility is currently running beyond its designed capacity of 45 million passengers per year. Passenger throughput last year was 47.2 million and the number is expected to rise to 51 million this year.
Once completed, the expansion project will increase Suvarnabhumi’s passenger handling capacity by 15 million to 60 million.
A basic blueprint for the expansion calls for the construction of a satellite passenger terminal linked to the current main passenger terminal by an automated people mover (APM). The plan also includes the extension of the existing main passenger terminal and car park buildings, though there will no third runway built.
The expansion will be true to the design and themes of the current terminal. According to the basic outline, the satellite terminal will have a total of 28 gates, with eight of them capable of handling the double-decker A380 superjumbo.
The future and current terminals will be linked by an underground tunnel, 51 metres in width and 700 metres in length.
Inside the tunnel, there will be the APM system, two service roads, two baggage conveyors and space for utilities.
The expansion programme will include a new 960,000-square-metre apron constructed for aircraft parking and manoeuvering.
The eastern end of the current passenger terminal will be extended by 135 metres and a new airline office building will be constructed.
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