Traffic up 13% through September
Passenger traffic through Thailand's five international airports rose 13.15% in the first nine months of this year to 38.52 million, indicating a return of normal growth in air traffic in all but one location.
Total aircraft movements through the airports operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) _ Bangkok (Don Muang), Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Chiang Rai _ grew 6.83% year-on-year in the January-September period to 260,602.
Freight processed through the airports increased 6% to 980,988 tonnes while mail volume fell 3.88% to 7,845 tonnes, according to figures from AoT.
The traffic numbers would have been higher if the figures at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which was partially opened in September before its full opening on Sept 28, were taken into account.
Don Muang registered a 10.76% rise in passengers to 31.46 million, with aircraft movements growing 5.16% to 208,556, freight up 6.22% to 936,948 tonnes and mail up 2.57% to 7,593 tonnes.
Air traffic through Phuket rose dramatically as the island recovered from the slump that followed the December 2004 tsunami. Passengers rose 62.5% to 3.27 million, with aircraft movements up 28.5% to 22,130, though freight decreased 2.9% to 12,083 tonnes.
Passenger traffic through Chiang Mai increased 3% to 2.22 million, plane movements rose 7.95% to 18,011 and freight was up 7.3% to 20,359 tonnes.
But violence in southern Thailand caused a 3.4% drop in aircraft movements through Hat Yai airport to 7,716, due primarily to the suspension of AirAsia's Kuala Lumpur-Hat Yai route in the third quarter.
However, passengers through Hat Yai increased 4.84% to 964,690, thanks to domestic traffic generated by low-cost carriers. Freight volume fell 1% to 8,005 tonnes.
At Chiang Rai, passengers increased 2.42% to 497,923 with aircraft movements up 12.9% to 4,189 and freight down 8.6% to 3,593.
The high holiday season in the fourth quarter, coupled with the additional capacity at Suvarnabhumi, is expected to lift air traffic volume by 15-20% over the low season, thus enabling the country's five major airports to break new records.
The projection for Bangkok, one of Asia's busiest hubs, is for 42 million passengers by the end of this year.
Source : Bangkok Post, by BOONSONG KOSITCHOTETHANA, Tuesday October 31, 2006.