Passenger traffic at Thailand's six major airports has mostly stretched well beyond capacities by a third, compounding heavy congestion, according to latest data.
These airports, including the gateway Suvarnabhumi and low-cost carrier hub Don Mueang, processed a total of 129 million passengers in the fiscal year to Sept 30, 32.7 million, or 33.9%, beyond their aggregate design capacity of 96.5 million a year.
The total passenger traffic passing through the airports operated by the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) in the fiscal year soared 7.7% over the previous year, according to the AoT figures.
The fiscal year also saw these airports handled 823,574 aircraft movements, referring to take-offs and landings, which were up 6% from the year before.
The difference between design capacity and actual utilisation widened from the previous fiscal year as passenger traffic, spurred by rising tourism, kept growing.
AoT declined to keep a lid on the overwhelming arrivals and departures while airport capacity expansion projects have been well behind time.
Facing even more critical overcrowding than in the past several years was Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Phuket.
A total of 59.1 million passengers were crammed into Suvarnabhumi in the fiscal year, up 6.5% from the previous year's level, while its capacity stands at 45 million passengers a year.
Don Mueang processed 37.2 million passengers, 7.2% more than the previous year, versus its capacity of 30 million passengers a year.
Phuket handled 16.2 million passengers, 10.3% over the previous year's figures, though its design capacity is merely 8 million passengers a year.
Chiang Mai recorded 9.97 million passengers, up by 8.3% from the previous year, surpassing its annual capacity of 8 million.
Hat Yai processed 4.34 million passengers, an increase of 12.3% from a year ago, against its capacity of 2.5 million a year.
Chiang Rai was the only airport under the AoT where actual passenger traffic was still below capacity, but it is also moving towards full capacity, handling 2.38 million passengers, up 21.7% from the previous year, against an annual capacity of 3 million passengers a year.
Aggregate international passengers passing through all six AoT airports grew 6.6% to 72.5 million, with domestic passenger traffic up 9.3% to 56.7 million.
The highest numbers of foreigners passing through the airports were from China, South Korea, Japan, India and Malaysia, respectively.
Meanwhile, the top five airlines that carried the most number of passengers through the airports were AirAsia, Thai Airways International, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Bangkok Airways.
At the fiscal year-end, a total of 135 airlines, 37 of which were low-cost carriers, operated from AoT facilities to over 200 destinations in 57 countries.
Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transp ... congestion
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