Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said the ministry has resolved to shift the management of Udon Thani, Krabi and Buri Ram airports to the AoT, which can help expand their capacities and turn them into regional air transport hubs that are well-positioned to handle more tourists, reports state news agency NNT.
Udon Thani and Buri Ram airports will be handed over to the AoT on Jan 1 and Krabi airport will be transferred at a later date,MR Saksayam said.
The move follows a ministry consultation with the two airport authorities and the Treasury Department, which owns the land on which the three airports are located, he added.
Mr Saksayam said AoT is studying how to compensate the DoA for losing the right to manage the three airports, which have generated a steady income for the department.
One way could be to pay a lump sum to the department, based on projected revenue the AoT would earn from the three airports over the duration of the 30-year leases, he said.
In addition to Phuket International Airport, AoT also operates Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Bangkok, Chiang Mai International Airport and Chiang Rai airport, as well as Hat Yai International Airport.
AoT has been struggling to raise revenues under the COVID crisis. For the first nine months of the current fiscal year (FY 2021) the company marked B6.363 billion in revenues, compared with B31.174bn for the first nine months of FY 2020.
Revenues for all of FY 2020 totalled B33.2bn, a huge fall from B64.566bn in revenues in pre-COVID FY 2019.