AOT proposes low 'happy hour' rates
Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) plans to offer discounts for carriers using its Suvarnabhumi airport during off-peak periods to reduce congestion in peak hours. The proposed incentives would come in the form of decreased landing and parking fees and ground handling charges from noon to 2 pm and around 4 pm.
The discount has yet to be determined and is part of a proposal that the Suvarnabhumi airport management team intends to table to the AoT's board meeting next month for approval.
However, Serirat Prasutanond, the general manager of Suvarnabhumi airport, said the ''happy hour'' rates should lead some airlines to choose to land and take off during the less busy hours.
AoT, the 70%-state-owned airport monopoly, plans to draw the two major ground handling service providers at Suvarnabhumi _ Thai Airways International and Bangkok Flight Services Co (BFS) _ to join its scheme to make the incentives more attractive.
But the incentives would probably be available one year from now as most airlines plan their schedules well in advance, Mr Serirat told the Bangkok Post.
The incentives form part of Suvarnabhumi airport's efforts to smooth traffic flows through the facility, which has been crowded during peak operating hours, especially between 8 am and 11 am, and between 11 pm and 2 am when most flights leave for Europe.
Bangkok's new 155-billion-baht airport is currently operating at more than 90% of its annual capacity of 45 million passengers just one year after it was opened.
The proposed discount could offer relief to some carriers, but is unlikely to appease the airline industry. Airlines remain critical of airport service charges that were increased earlier this year, including a 15% jump in landing and parking fees and concession fees levied by AoT against ground-handling companies being passed on to the airlines.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that the higher charges have made turnaround costs at Bangkok higher than at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport.
Source: Bangkok Post by Boonsong Kositchotethana
Thursday October 11, 2007