Experiencing a revival after a three-year slump due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Suvarnabhumi Airport and its director, Kittipong Kittikachorn, are now eagerly looking towards progress and growth. As the fiscal year 2023 approached to its end, the airport recorded an impressive leap in its operational performance, handling more than a quarter of a million flights, a 59.4% increase compared to the previous year. This upswing equally reflected on passenger numbers, catapulting them by a staggering 153.4% to hit 44.40 million.
Stepping into its 18th year of seamless operations, Suvarnabhumi Airport has embarked on multiple expansion plans to leverage this upward trend. A key component of this growth strategy is the newly launched Secondary Terminal Building 1 (SAT-1), which made its debut recently amidst a soft opening ceremony marked by much fanfare.
To be officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin himself, the terminal is expected to increase the airport’s exit capacity by a significant 30%, allowing it to host as many as 60 million passengers every year, divulged Kittipong.
Stay-ahead of the curve, the airport has also unveiled the sophisticated Individual Carrier System, which shuffles luggage quickly and safely from the Main Terminal to SAT-1. The inventive system adds another feather to the airport’s cap, joining the ranks of global operators who embrace technology to enhance customer experience.
Weighing in on the first day of SAT-1 operations, Kittipong applauded the terminal’s smooth functioning, highlighting that eleven flights administered by carriers AirAsia X and Thai Vietjet Air graced the terminal, without any glitches. Passengers traveling from SAT-1 to the chief terminal took just 18 minutes, reaffirming the well-oiled machinery behind the airport’s workings.
Kerati Kijmanawat, president of Airports of Thailand (AOT), lauded the increased service scope that made traveling more convenient and pleasant for passengers. He drew attention to the Automated People Mover (APM) train making rounds between the main terminal and SAT-1 every 5 minutes, cutting down travel time to a mere 120 seconds.
Crusading towards modernization, Suvarnabhumi Airport will integrate biometrics into its security protocols by December. Anticipated to curb the pain of standing in lengthy queues, the system will save passengers the hassles of furnishing passports and flight tickets for identity verification, conveyed Kittipong.
Foreseeing an inflow of flights in the future, Suvarnabhumi Airport has initiated sweeping projects to extend its capacity. One noticeable enterprise is the Runway 3 construction, scheduled for a 2024 liftoff, which will lift the hourly flight limit to 94 from 68.
Another venture in the pipeline is the East Expansion proposal for the main passenger terminal, a move expected to accommodate an extra 15 million passengers per annum. Bids for this project will reportedly be solicited at the start of 2024. To ease parking woes, the airport has also introduced the AOT Parking Management System which includes an automated payment feature at designated zones.
Whilst all development proceeds, careful planning takes environmental sustainability into account. True to its title of Thailand’s inaugural green airport, Suvarnabhumi strives to incorporate eco-friendly practices into its operations. The Solar Rooftop Project, functioning since August 2022, has eased the venue’s temperature by seven degrees Celsius, curbed 3,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions yearly, and reiterated Suvarnabhumi Airport’s dedication to environmental preservation.