A two-stage expansion is now in place to quadruple the airport’s designed annual passenger handling capacity to 10 million a year over the next 12 years, up from current capacity of 2.5 million.
The multi-billion-baht expansion of the country’s fifth-busiest airport was revealed on Monday (May 2) in the wake of a continued surge in passenger throughput, which has already surpassed its present capacity.
For the fiscal year to September 2015, the airport in Songkhla province processed 3.56 million passengers, 21.19 per cent more than the previous year, with aircraft movements soaring 15.71% to 24,258.
Over the past five years, the airport has recorded an average annual increase of 18.1% in terms of passenger traffic and a 15.1% spike in aircraft movements.
Passenger traffic through Hat Yai is projected to grow to 4.5 million in fiscal 2019, 5.9 million in 2024 and 9.1 million in 2034.
Aircraft movements, in terms of take-offs and landings, are expected to grow to 31,087 in 2019, 41,308 in 2024 and 64,029 in 2034.
Rittirong Gornmanee, general manager of the airport, said that the first stage of the expansion recently got underway. It is slated to boost the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 4.5 million a year by 2018.
There are seven components involved in the “urgent” phase, including improvement of the passenger terminal and expansion of the apron to raise the number of parking bays from seven to nine.
From 2019 to 2028, he envisions the construction of a new passenger terminal, a cargo terminal and the removal of the existing passenger terminal to pave the way for an improved apron and taxiways.
Hat Yai, an important airport for Muslims on their pilgrimage to Mecca, is served by seven airlines, including Thai Lion Air, Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, AirAsia and Tiger Airways. It connects with 10 destinations, three of them international.
The top five international arrivals to Hat Yai airport are from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and Japan, respectively.
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