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Government approves re-opening Don Muang airport

The Thai government has decided to re-open Don Muang airport for international flights, operating in conjunction with Suvarnabhumi, to ease air traffic congestion at the new airport where some facilities will be closed for repairs. It tentatively set the reopening to be in effect within 45 days, with details to be worked out by the Transport Ministry.

The decision, announced by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont after the cabinet meeting yesterday, goes beyond the position of the Transport Ministry and Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT).

The two agencies had wanted Don Muang to service only domestic flights which had no direct connections to overseas routes.

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Timing of Don Muang Airport domestic reopening critical for Songkran travel

BANGKOK, January 31 - Renovation of the 90-year-old Bangkok Airport at Don Muang to ready it for its re-launch is proceeding at full speed and airport officials are confident the facility would be re-opened in 45 days for non-connecting domestic flights.

Transport Minister Thira Haocharoen on Tuesday expressed hope to see the recently-decommissioned Don Muang International Airport reopen for domestic flights prior to the Songkran (Thai New Year) festival so that it could serve a large number of inbound and outbound passengers.

Airport manager Flight Lieutenant Pinit Saraithong affirmed that Don Muang can be ready in time for the Songkran (Thai New Year) rush, but the plan needs to be approved first by the cabinet, which may consider the plan on February 6.

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Thai Airways is ready to move flights to Don Muang in 30 days

BANGKOK, January 30 - Thai Airways International (THAI) is prepared to transfer some flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport back to the old Bangkok international airport at Don Muang as soon as one month from now, according to THAI President Apinan Sumanaseni, but the national carrier would find it more suitable period to move in late March.

Thailand's Ministry of Transport and other agencies concerned --including the Civil Aviation Department and the Airports of Thailand (AOT) agreed Monday to transfer domestic flights without ongoing connections to Bangkok's former international airport at Don Muang.

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Airports of Thailand: No further incoming flight delays

BANGKOK, January 26 - Despite Thursday's airport arrival delays, Airports of Thailand, which runs Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, asserted Friday there will be no further delays in incoming flights due to repairs on runways on Friday.

AoT board member Tortakul Yommanak in his capacity as chairman of an "independent" committee supervising runway and taxiway repairs, that the delay in the incoming flights on Thursday was caused by a traffic jam due to a closing of the west runway for repairs.

Because of this, some flights were forced to circle the airport in a holding pattern Thursday afternoon or land at the U-Tapao military airfield in Chon Buri for refueling and temporary parking.

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Some domestic flights to shift to Don Muang airport

A meeting on January 29th between Thailand's Ministry of Transport and other agencies agreed to transfer domestic flights without ongoing connections to Bangkok's former international airport, Transport Minister Thira Haocharoen said.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with representatives from the Civil Aviation Department and the Airports of Thailand (AOT), Admiral Thira said his ministry will submit the proposal for Cabinet approval next week.

The transfer is expected to take 45-60 days to complete.

He conceded that the service transfer, on a voluntary basis, is due to congestion and problems with taxiways and runways at the four-month old Suvarnabhumi Airport which resulted in the closing of some areas for heavy repair work.

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Some flights will likely shift to Don Muang Airport

Transport Minister Admiral Theera Haocharoen will Monday convene a crucial meeting to decide whether to transfer some flight services from Suvarnabhumi Airport back to Don Muang Airport amid a series of misfortunate events happening at the country's newest air traffic facilities.

"We have to admit that repair works on the Suvarnabhumi Airport's taxiways and runway will affect its services," Theera said Sunday.

He believed if the Don Muang Airport was recommissioned to accommodate some flight services, air traffic congestion at the Suvarnabhumi Airport would ease.

Last week, it was confirmed that the Suvarnabhumi Airport has cracks on its taxiways. On Thursday, the repair works also forced some flights to circle over the airport or land at UTapao military airfield in Chon Buri for refueling and temporary parking.

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East runway to close for repairs. Return to Don Muang considered

The Thai government and airport authorities are mulling the possibility of reopening Bangkok's 90-year-old Don Muang Airport as added disruption to air traffic at the new Suvarnabhumi airport is expected Saturday following plans to close the east runway for repairs.

About 100 cracks were found at the new airport's taxiways and runaways and damaged sections are being closed off while repair work is carried out.

Transport Minister Admiral Thira Haocharoen told reporters Friday that this situation has raised the possibility of moving some flights back to Don Muang, especially for point-to-point domestic flights.

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Prime Minister says no need to close Suvarnabhumi

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont reassured the public Friday that there is no need to close the recently opened Suvarnabhumi Airport even though scores of cracks have been found in the taxiways and one runway, saying that the government is giving priority to the safety of passengers and is addressing the problems.

Gen. Surayud said Airports of Thailand (AoT) board member Tortakul Yommanak, in his capacity as chairman of an AoT committee which has been given independent powers to supervise the runway and taxiway repairs, told the cabinet on Tuesday that it expected to take about two weeks to thoroughly examine the cracks.

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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.

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Immigration officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport to receive courtesy training

Some 1,200 immigration officers at Bangkok's Suvanarbhumi International Airport will take a training course on personality development following complaints from foreign visitors to the Immigration Bureau that they were always frowning and unfriendly, according to a senior Immigration Bureau official.

National Airport Immigration Division Commissioner, Pol. Maj-Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda Monday signed a cooperation agreement with Suan Dusit Rajabhat University on a behavioural modification training course.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gen. Chakthip said, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University will prepare a personality development training course for immigration officers called the "Sawasdee Project."

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