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Suvarnabhumi Airport set to open on Sept 28, THAI Airways top management confirms date

BANGKOK, June 8 (TNA) - Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport is now set to open for commercial purposes on September 28, the Transport Ministry announced here on Wednesday.

The opening date of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport was set recently by the government commmittee on management and development of the new airport, Deputies Transport Minister Gen.Chainant Charoensiri and Mr. Phumtham Wechayachai told a press conference after a meeting here Wednesday with the board of directors of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), the national flag carrier.

A new committee comprising of representatives of all parties concerned, including Airports of Thailand Public Co., Ltd. (AOT), the Customs Department, the Immigration Bureau, THAI and other international airlines, would also be set up to oversee the relocation of Bangkok's internatonal airport from the Don Muang Airport to the Suvarnabhumi Airport, the two ministers said.

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Thailand waives fees to attract budget carriers to new airport

Thailand is offering to waive landing fees at Bangkok's new international airport to attract low-cost airlines to the facility which is expected to open in late September, officials said Tuesday.

Thailand's civil aviation chief Chaisak Angsuwan said budget carriers could begin running test flights with some passengers at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport as early as next month, before the official opening in late September.

"We are offering incentives for those to start flying to the new airport in July," he told AFP.

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Anti-terrorism drill at new airport

Thailand conducted a counter terrorism drill at its new international airport in Bangkok, the Suvarnabhumi Airport, Tuesday evening.

Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra led members of the government policy and command committee on tackling transnatonal terrorism, as well as members of the Thai cabinet and foreign envoys to observe the drill, operated by Thailand's counter transnational terrorism centre.

The drill, including a speical mission to rescue hostages on board a hijacked plane or a passenger terminal, using real weapons and ammunition was part of the Thai kingdom's tightened security preparations for world royalties and distinguished guests during royal and state ceremonies marking the auspicious occasion of the 60th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the throne in June.

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Bangkok's airport to open at last

Thailand's much delayed new international airport is ready for commercial traffic and could open as early as September, the transport minister said on Thursday.

Contractors should finish up their work in the next month, and then the new Bangkok airport will undergo two months of testing to ensure its systems run smoothly, Pongsak Raktapongapisal told reporters at the new airport.

"The airport can open for commercial use by late September," he said.

The minister said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had certified the new airport for operation, clearing the way for commercial traffic. The ICAO's Bangkok office could not be reached for details.

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The mammoth task of moving an airport

As the opening date for Bangkok's new airport nears, preparations are being finalised for one of the largest logistical operations in global aviation history moving millions of tonnes of aircraft and equipment from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi within roughly 12 hours.

There have been a number of recent airport moves in the Asia-Pacific: Seoul, Hong Kong airport, Nagoya and Kuala Lumpur airport - but none involved the volume of equipment in an airport the size of Don Muang, believed to be the largest in the Asia-Pacific in terms of aircraft movement.

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Bangkok eyes airport opening for high season

THE Thai government said yesterday it will push ahead to open Bangkok's new international airport by September, rushing to mend troubles from a leaking roof and runway cracks.

After inspecting Suvarnabhumi Airport with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said the government would open the airport in time for the high tourist season.

"If we can open before October, the beginning of tourist season, it will be good for the country's economy," Pongsak told reporters after meeting with Thaksin, airport officials and representatives from airline and construction companies. Suvarnabhumi Airport has been tarnished by numerous corruption scandals and other woes - including a fire that swept through a catering hall in January, killing a construction worker. Pongsak said he was optimistic the leaking roof, runway surface cracks and baggage scanners that are not yet fully functional would be fixed on time. Test runs at the airport would begin in August. "There are 13 sheets of canvas roofing that need to be replaced, while 30 others can be repaired," he said.

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