AoT poised for takeover of three Thai airports

14 September 2014 (Last Updated September 14th, 2014 18:30)

Aviation firm Airports of Thailand (AoT) is expected to take charge of three of the country's largest airports from the civil aviation department.

Aviation firm Airports of Thailand (AoT) is expected to take charge of three of the country's largest airports from the civil aviation department.

The Bangkok Post reported that the possibility of AoT handling Krabi, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani Airports emerged in the course of a conversation between department director-general Woradej Harnprasert and AoT chairman Prasong Poontaneat.

"There was a possibility of AoT running U-Tapao over the next three or four years following an initial upgrade, which would help to increase the terminal's annual capacity to 2.5 million passengers."

Poontaneat said that there was a longstanding requirement for AoT to take over all 28 airports and the department chief was receptive to the company's takeover proposal. The three airports have more traffic volumes than the other airports and have been given the international status.

The department's easing stance towards handing over the airports is being seen as a new direction after the May 22 ouster of the Yingluck Shinawatra government, which will eventually help state-controlled AoT to carry forward their talks for the terms and conditions in managing the airports.

The AoT also got an approval from the National Council for Peace and Order to convert the Royal Thai Navy's U-Tapao Airport into a fully fledged commercial facility.

Poontaneat also said that there was a possibility of AoT running U-Tapao over the next three or four years following an initial upgrade, which would help to increase the terminal's annual capacity to 2.5 million passengers from the current 1.09 million.

The Bangkok Post quoted AoT executives as saying that this would cost approximately THB100m, while a larger expansion could cost up to THB4bn.