Bangkok Airport passenger statistics for the 4th quarter of 2006
Air passenger movements through Bangkok fell marginally in October 2006, the first full month of operations for Suvarnabhumi Airport, but freight movements fell by a much more significant 11% year-on-year, according to figures released by Airports of Thailand this week. The figures reflected the impact of global publicity about the teething problems being experienced at the new airport, which handles about 80% of all visitor arrivals to Thailand and nearly all freight and cargo movements.
According to AoT, total passenger movements (including embarked, disembarked and transit) at Suvarnabhumi totaled 3,427,296, down 0.8% compared with October 2005.
Of that figure, domestic passengers were down 1.23% to 931,086 and international passengers down 0.63% to 2,496,210. The rest were transit passengers.
Total freight movements were more sharply affected, down 11.31% to 97,216 tonnes in October. Of the total, international freight was down 11.33% to 92,604 tonnes and domestic freight down 10.9% to 4,612 tonnes.
Although total passenger movements recovered in November and December with year-on-year growth of 8.46% and 8.76% respectively, freight continued to decline in both months, down 3.89% in November and 6.14% in December.
The figures also provide the first indication of the impact of the coup in September, when international passenger movements through Bangkok fell by a significant 7.96% to 2,156,822. Domestic passenger movements were down 8.55% to 691,302 in the same period.
In spite of that small decline, which was quickly overcome, Bangkok ended the year with 42,628,920 international and domestic passenger movements in all of 2006, up 9.35% over 2005.
With further growth anticipated this year, it effectively means that Suvarnabhumi has already exceeded its planned capacity and can be classified as "congested".
Authorities are now debating whether to move some flight activities back to Don Muang, the airport that Suvarnabhumi was intended to replace when planning first began 44 years ago.