Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport can’t get away from failing international standards and the associated negative press.
Overcrowding was also named among the issues the airport faces as the terminal is already exceeding the amount of 45 Mio passengers annually with constant growth rates on the way.
You can follow the full news report on Reuters (access here).
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi Airport is a safety risk, with “serious” overcrowding soon to become a critical issue, and urgent expansion needed, the Nation daily reported on Friday.
Thailand is under pressure to improve its aviation standards after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the country’s safety ratings in December last year.
“There are also safety concerns on the airport’s tarmac, taxiways and apron area because of soft spots,” IATA director-general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.
“Aircraft get stuck in the soft surface due to substandard materials,” he told the newspaper in an interview in Bangkok, after returning from the Singapore Airshow.
This comes along the recent downgrades of Thailand as a whole by the ICAO for failing to comply with international safety standards (LoyaltyLobby reported about it here).
This week, the Thai civil aviation authority said a review by ICAO was likely to be delayed until early 2017 because it needed more time to improve the qualification of Thai auditors.
Tyler said the airport, which handles 52 million passengers each year, had a significant regional and global role but needed urgent expansion of its terminal capacity, the Nation reported. “It was designed to handle 45 million passengers annually, but it exceeds that today and traffic is still growing at an annual 10 percent rate,” he said. “Overcrowding is a serious issue that will become critical quickly.”
Thai airport operator Airports of Thailand said it was aware of the problems flagged by IATA and has readied several measures to improve runways using concrete and expand capacity, which are awaiting government approval.
“We have prepared short- to medium- and long-term plans to solve the problems,” Sirote Duangratana, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, told Reuters.
Thailand is really dropping the ball here. What’s surprising is that the airport really appears to be somewhat fine to the passengers apart from the super long distances (Bangkok is a HUGE airport) that you have to walk within the terminal. It shows that sometimes things aren’t as they seem especially as far as safety is concerned.
In typical Thai fashion I’m sure some patchwork will be done and lip service given but that won’t be enough to convince international investigators for IATA and the ICAO.
Nevertheless let’s not forget that there are airports in far worse conditions around the world and things like the ICAO and FAA downgrades so far only effect the ability of Thai carriers to file for new international routes. This is more of a problem for Thai Airways though should they be interested into flying to new destinations (which is rather unlikely given the financial situation of Thai Airways and the fact that they just dropped their Los Angeles route).