During an informative gathering at the esteemed Wintree City Resort in Chiang Mai province, top-level executives from AOT and airport officials unveiled a significant project. The ambitious venture, timings, and its objectives were meticulously laid out to the attending partners and prospective investors. Sarayuth Jampa, the respected deputy director of Chiang Mai International Airport helmed the engaging seminar session.
Sarayuth, addressing the participants, shed light on the current operational capacity of the airport. At present, it can handle up to 8 million passengers annually. However, before the global Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the industries, the airport displayed a promising annual growth of 11%. This passenger flow overreached the airport’s maximum capacity in 2019, with more than 10 million travelers passing through its gates. Such escalating demands have propelled Chiang Mai to be recognized as the fourth-largest airport under AOT’s operation. Thus, the urgency to lay out a comprehensive development plan to amplify its capacity is graciously recognized.
With high competition among economical domestic airlines and an influx of foreign tourists, predominantly from China, seeking to explore Northern Thailand, the airport’s passenger traffic has grown significantly. Articulating the plans further, Sarayuth explained how AOT had meticulously partitioned the airport’s development project into two stages.
The initial phase, spanning from 2022 to 2029, encompasses the essential feasibility study, environmental impact assessment, and progressive construction and refinement of the facilities. Following a dedicated three-year construction period (2026-2029), the first phase expects commencement for public operations from 2030. This phase expands the current capacity to facilitate a commendable 16.5 million passengers annually.
The subsequent stage of the airport development will kick start from 2030, extending through 2033. This phase aims to further boost the airport’s capacity to an impressive 20 million passengers yearly. By 2033, the airport’s enhancements should allow it to efficiently manage 31 flights per hour across its 38 dedicated aircraft bays.
Major construction focuses within this project include state-of-the-art runways and taxiways, an advanced aircraft refuelling facility, segregated domestic and international passenger terminals, administrative buildings for airport and airline authorities, parking areas, internal airport roads, an electrical substation, and an eco-friendly wastewater treatment plant.
The TCMA Consortium, assigned as the EIA contractor of the project, provided updates on the environmental impact study’s progress and outlined plans for public hearing sessions. Reinstating their commitment, the consortium assured that the multi-phased development project would dutifully respect the neighboring communities, ensuring no expansion beyond the airport’s current territory.
The Chiang Mai International Airport, perfectly ensconced within approximately 1,605 rai (256 hectares) in Suthep subdistrict, is merely about 3km away from Chiang Mai’s bustling downtown area.