Somkiat Maneesathit, DoA deputy director-general, went on an inspection tour of the airport on Thursday (Mar 18), and he was briefed on various construction projects there, reports the Bangkok Post.
He inspected a newly-built airport apron equipped with a lighting system. The construction of the structure was completed on Jan 21.
The DoA deputy chief also monitored the progress of a new runway being built at the cost of B941.9 million. The construction contract runs from Oct 29 last year to April 16, 2023.
The runway project is expected to finish on time. Once completed, the new runway can accommodate 24 aircraft per hour, up from the current eight aircraft per hour, according to the department.
Also under construction is the third terminal building, an upgrade for the first and second terminal buildings as well as a car park building. These projects are estimated to be worth B2.9 billion.
The third terminal is likely to be up and running this October, in time for the recovery of the travel and tourism sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of the high tourism season.
The terminal is expected to double the airport’s current handling capacity of 1,500 people per hour, or 4 million people per year.
The new car park building will also have space for up to 2,700 vehicles.
The DoA last week said domestic flights are currently operating at airports in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Trang, Phitsanulok, Sakon Nakhon, Lampang, Nan Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Loei, Buri Ram and Mae Sot.
The department was confident the local aviation industry will continue its recovery over the next six months with the national vaccination programme speeding up the recovery process.
There are now about 120 round-trip flights being operated per day across the country, double the number during the industry’s low point.
The number of passengers on domestic flights each day had risen to 30,000-40,000 before the second wave of COVID-19 hit in mid-December, equal to about 80% of the usual number before the pandemic, the department said.