King Power monopoly at Suvarnabhumi airport to end
The board of Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) will call bids for duty-free shop operations at Suvarnabhumi airport, stripping King Power of its monopoly rights over commercial areas at the airport.
AoT plans to allow at least 2-3 operators to run duty-free shops at the airport.
The contract winners will lease areas directly from the agency.
The AoT board's decision follows last month's nullification of two contracts held by King Power.
The nullification was made on grounds that the contracts were illegal because King Power had intended to avoid scrutiny by keeping the scale of its investment below one billion baht a contract, as AoT had stipulated.
AoT board spokesman Chirmsak Pinthong said the board agreed that there should be at least two to three duty-free shops at Suvarnabhumi airport, to provide competition.
Operators of small shops at Suvarnabhumi and other airports in the provinces would be asked to sign lease contracts directly with AoT, he added.
AoT would proceed with the plan after King Power was notified in writing of the board's decision, and the contract nullification was acknowledged and accepted by the firm, said Mr Chirmsak.
However, if King Power decided to petition the Administrative Court for emergency protection and for permission to continue its operations, AoT would have to wait for the court's ruling, he said.
The board's decision was meant to be fair to the operators of small shops at Suvarnabhumi and other airports who had already invested a great deal of money, he said.
However, their shops must not block signs and fire exits at those airports.
Assistant army chief Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr, who chairs the AoT board, said the board's decision was good for all parties concerned.
Meanwhile, AoT board member Yodyiem Theptharanond said more than 100 shops with sun screens were found to have blocked laser smoke detectors at Suvanabhumi.
The shops were told to correct the problem or face action.
He added that several risk spots at the airport had been fixed, after AoT earlier identified security weaknesses there. Suvarnabhumi director Serirat Prasutanond said most shops which blocked the laser smoke detectors were in Terminal 4, particularly Concourse D.
Source: Bangkok Post by Amornrat Mahitthirook
Friday April 20, 2007