The Suvanabhumi Airport news 2002-2006

Bangkok Airport Watch - Older news (2002- 2006)
See the Latest News page for more info.

Lego model - December 29, 2006
From The Nation: A Lego staff uses lego pieces to build Suvannabhumi Airport model on Thursday. The model will be displayed at a luxurious department store during the New Year festival.

Take-off from Suvarnabhumi - December 19, 2006
Shane writes: I'm a big fan of 2Bangkok.com! I recorded a video clip from inside a small plane taking off from Suvarnabhumi last week, fantastic view of Suvarnabhumi. It's on youtube; I thought you might like to post a link to it from your site, maybe some of your visitors would like to see it. The flight was from Bangkok to Hua Hin, the landing is up there too. Take Off - Landing


Suvarnabhumi: Bogged down in Bangkok - Official Airline Guides, December 19, 2006
Few airports can have been unveiled in the wake of more chaos and confusion than Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi. After a muddied history...


Don Muang may be re-opened: official - Agence France-Presse, December 21, 2006
...Chiaisak Angkasuwan, director general of the civil aviation department, said there was a chance commercial flights would resume at Don Muang airport because of unsolved problems at Suvarnabhumi, which means 'golden land' in Thai.
"We are considering reopening Don Muang airport as problems at Suvarnabhumi airport have yet to be resolved due to poor management," said Chiaisak.
"Don Muang could be reopened for domestic flights and those of low-cost airlines, but I could not say when," he told AFP...


New airport faces partial shutdown - Mistakes, graft found in almost all contracts - Bangkok Post, December 25, 2006
Poor construction at Suvarnabhumi may force parts of the new airport to be shut down for repairs. This would open the way for the recently abandoned Don Muang airport to be re-opened to serve Bangkok's air traffic needs...


Don Muang may be re-opened: official - Agence France-Presse, December 21, 2006
...Chiaisak Angkasuwan, director general of the civil aviation department, said there was a chance commercial flights would resume at Don Muang airport because of unsolved problems at Suvarnabhumi, which means 'golden land' in Thai.
"We are considering reopening Don Muang airport as problems at Suvarnabhumi airport have yet to be resolved due to poor management," said Chiaisak.
"Don Muang could be reopened for domestic flights and those of low-cost airlines, but I could not say when," he told AFP...

An appalling case of neglect - Bangkok Post, December 16, 2006
...But no praise is due to those who skimped on such modern-day necessities as attending to the needs of disabled passengers, many of them tourists. The opinions and recommendations made by representatives of the disabled during the airport design and construction phases appear to have been largely ignored. This is in total contrast to the disabled-friendly subway system where everyone worked together and succeeded in getting it right.
...The Association of the Disabled of Thailand predicts the airport will fail its first big test when the country hosts the 9th Asian ParaGames next year if faults are not fixed in time. They may well be because attitudes have changed since the coup and efforts are now being made to rectify all the costly blunders that could so easily have been avoided...


"Call to close Bangkok’s new airport as problems mount" - MICE/BTN, December 15, 2006
[As often is the case with grave-sounding articles in the foreign press, there is actually nothing in the article about a "call to close the airport."]


Hundreds of cabbies blocked the taxi terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport last night in protest at a police arrest and ticketing of a driver. As many as 300 police were deployed to the protest - The Nation, November 26, 2006


(Photo: Jerry)

Towing vehicles at the new airport - November 25, 2006
Jerry reports: Many moaners on the forum complaining about airport security guard corruption, but yesterday I was very happy to see security guards actively removing cars parked in front of departures using three recovery vehicles. Why they even allowed the driver to get out and lock the car in the first place, is another story! Picture attached. Also found a very cheap and comfortable place to rest, eat and drink at the terminal...on level one at the very left end of the terminal. The food court inside on level one at the right end is usually overcrowded. Another good place to eat is Puff & Pie at the bus terminal...but closes at 5pm.

Airport not fit to open 'officially' for six months - Bangkok Post, November 18, 2006

Bangkok airport experiences severe birthing pains - IHT, November 12, 2006
..."I hear so many complaints from my clients I don't know where to begin," said Onsuma Prompong, 38, the owner of the Tour Agency Travel Corner. "The most common are the crowding in the check-in areas, delays in check-ins and this marathon walk passengers have to endure when they're trying to reach the plane.
"Dirty toilets are also a big concern," she said. That is, when travelers can find a toilet.
... Every new airport, especially one as big as Suvarnabhumi, which has the world's largest single terminal, has teething problems.
But while some of the problems at the airport are being addressed, others will be more difficult to fix, such as the overcrowding, which is a "structural restriction resulting from the design," Raveewan said...


More toilets for new Thai airport - CNN, October 24, 2006
...The sprawling Suvarnabhumi International Airport only has some 100 toilets for the more than 100,000 daily passengers, sparking frustration and anger among those having to stand in long lines.
"We are aware of this burden on the passengers and I have ordered a quick resolution to this problem by ordering the building of 200 more toilets...
"I guarantee that by then passengers and visitors to the airport will find convenient relief," Chotisak said...

Rail line to join with Airport Link urged - Bangkok Post, October 27, 2006
...According to Mr Opas, the Don Muang-Phaya Thai rail link is part of the state's Red Line train project that will stretch from Rangsit via Phaya Thai to Maha Chai in Samut Sakhon, and from Taling Chan via Phaya Thai to Makkasan.
The 32km route is estimated to cost 40.6 billion baht, and to serve 700,000 passengers a day when completed.
The advisory council will also push for two other ''much needed'' electric railways: the Purple Line, 23km long from Bang Yai to Bang Sue and the Blue Line, 27km long from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae, and from Bang Sue to Tha Phra. Both lines are estimated to cost 103 billion baht altogether...


Letter: Ecological, environmental and social impact of airport - The Nation, October 26, 2006
I am a Thai citizen with a business based in Thailand. I travel a lot during the course of my work and, having seen most airports round the world, have a collection of pleasant tales and horror stories similar to those I have been following in The Nation about our new airport...

Trip report: Flight into Bangkok - October 24, 2006
Robert writes: You might like to link to this report on 2Bangkok.com. The report is written by an Emirates Airlines 777 captain after his DXB-BKK-HKG-BKK-DXB flights last week. His comments, at some length, on BKK's new airport are spot on! It is also a great read - these guys do work some pretty dreadful hours!

Moving - Krungthep Turakit, September 28, 2006
Moving: A caravan of trucks move things from Don Muang airport on the circle ring road to Suwannabhumi airport that formally opened today.


First day at the new airport - September 28, 2006

Airport ready to open - September 27, 2006

Busy? I'll show you busy, says Thai airport boss - Reuters, September 27, 2006
...The move, which involves shifting 1.8 million pieces of equipment -- much of it the space of a few hours -- across the sprawling metropolis, is being billed as one of the largest logistical operations in aviation history.
"Busy? I'll show you busy," he told Reuters at a recent business lunch before removing six mobile phones from his pockets and lining them up on the table.
"This one is for my friends, this one for my staff, this one for my customers and this one for ministers. This one is the prime minister and this one my wife. If I don't answer the last one, that's when I get big trouble," he said...


A Thaksin legacy: Thailand's new airport comes with political baggage - IHT, September 26, 2006
Thanks to Danny for pointing this out.

Eerie experience interrupts rite - Bangkok Post, September 24, 2006
...Yesterday's rite was presided over by 99 monks who chanted en masse to improve the luck of the new airport, set to open commercially on Thursday.
However, halfway through the rite, a man appeared, quivering, and began to speak in a commanding voice claiming to be ''Poo Ming'', a guardian spirit of the land partially developed into the airport.
He ordered that a proper spirit house be built at the airport to allow for its smooth operation. The man, who was unidentified, later passed out and woke up to find the spirit had left him...
Some veiled figures have sometimes been spotted on the 6km-long road...
''Whatever you make of it, it is the belief associated with the Thai way of life. For the non-believer, it is best not to act disrespectfully [towards the supernatural],'' he said.

Popular eating spot to close with Don Muang - Rent at new facility 'multiplied 150 times' - Bangkok Post, September 19, 2006
...She said many customers tried to talk her into moving to the new airport, set to officially open on Sept 28, but the rent would be stratospheric. Mrs Kruem pays 1,000 baht a month in rent at Don Muang train station. The rent at Suvarnabhumi would be more than 150,000 baht...

Trouble spots identified at the new airport - Bangkok Post, September 18, 2006
...The potential danger spots include the car park building and its walkway leading to the terminal's third floor, revolving doors, sharp-edged air-conditioners fixed on the floor, escalators, and the slippery marble floor at the departure area for out-bound passengers.
...Although the lines are beautiful and make it look like a ''see-through'' building, the safety of drivers has been brought into question because if they reverse their cars carelessly they could plunge to the ground.
...An unusually ''large space'' was also seen at the corner of the walkway, which is again fenced by an aluminium structure and slings. It connects the car park building and the terminal's third floor. The space is too wide and would put the life of small children in danger if they were around as they could accidentally fall through it...


Bangkok's airport faces nervous start - BBC, September 14, 2006
Anyone travelling to Bangkok from the end of September will find themselves flying not into the dilapidated old airport at Don Muang, but into a brand new, state-of-the art airport situated 25km east of the capital...


The politics of Suvarnabhumi Airport - The Nation, September 13, 2006

Airport info - September 14, 2006
From an Amcham report: Current plans call for full international service at Suvarnabhumi beginning September 29. These dates are subject to change. Suvarnabhumi will inherit Don Muang's "BKK" international airport code and Don Muang will be recoded as "DBK". Therefore, travelers are strongly encouraged to reconfirm destinations with airlines if your travel falls on or near these dates. Information on the new airport can be found at: www.bangkokairportonline.com

Students' safety 'risked in rush to open airport' - The Nation, September 7, 2006
..."Siriwat said each time the institute consulted the government about other possible effects, it would simply set up a committee which failed to take any action. He said the formation of more than 100 committees had failed to solve the problems..."

Airport protest - Krungtep Turakit, September 6, 2006
Left: The sign says "A great airport, but the habitants "are in trouble"
Photo caption reads: Ask for promise: Member of Suwannapoom  Service cooperative Ltd. gathered in front of government house to ask a promise be kept. The government promised to more than 2500 families that when the government asked them to move from Nong Ngoohao and will give work for them in Suwannapoom airport. But until now the airport nearly opens and they have not been called to work as promised.


No fanfare for Don Muang close - TNA, September 4, 2006
There will be no major ceremonies for Don Muang International Airport when it closes on September 27 after more than eight decades of service...

Airport fiasco an embarrassment - The Nation, August 11, 2006
Thai's labour union is right to resist the dangerous demands of an unstable political leader...




Suvannabhumi transportation guidelines - August 11, 2006
Pdf (1.44MB)

Thai airport security tight - Bangkok Post, August 11, 2006
Increased security was ordered yesterday at all international airports across Thailand. Airports of Thailand managing director Chotesak Artpawiriya said hand scanners were being used in addition to regular measures. At Don Muang airport military dogs were posted at entrances to search for explosives...


New Bangkok Airport Location and Opening Date Confirmation - etravelblackboard.com, August 09, 2006
...Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel is only a five minute walk from Bangkok's new international airport... The current rack rate for this hotel is 7200.00 ++
Hotels Near The New Airport - SC Park Hotel, Novotel Bangna, Royal Princess Srinakarin...


Global experts say new airport is ready - Bangkok Post, August 10, 2006
Suvarnabhumi airport will be able to open on Sept 28, the date targeted by the government, but only for a limited amount of air traffic, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)...

Pilot takes fright after 'no airport' warning comes up - Bangkok Post, August 10, 2006

New airport to take local flights from Sept 15 - The Nation, August 8, 2006

Airport bus routes - August 8, 2006

Opening of Thailand's new airport worries airlines - Financial Times, August 3, 2006
Suthin Kongchoodi, a 33-year-old hospital maintenance worker, travelled six hours by bus from north-eastern Thailand to Bangkok last weekend for a chance to gawk at the capital's $3.7bn Suvarnabhumi International Airport...


New uses for an old airport - Bangkok Post, August 2, 2006

'Don't play if you don't want to pay,' AoT president tells carriers - Bangkok Post, August 1, 2006
... "If you are so unhappy (with airport charges), simply don't come," AoT president Chotisak Asapaviriya said in response to complaints by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) about the 15% rise in landing and parking charges at Bangkok's new airport.
"Stop intimidating us through the media and passing on half-truths to the public," he said in an interview...

Airport has 'high risk' areas - Bangkok Post, July 28, 2006

Risk, what risk? - The Nation, July 29, 2006
...Somsak's stunt marks a desperate attempt to reassure the public that Bangkok's new airport, scheduled to receive paying passengers for the first time today, is ready for operation...

Deadline confirmed for new airport's full operation - Bangkok Post, July 22, 2006

AOT leaves new airport buildings uninsured - The Nation, July 21, 2006

Airport to get certified, but for what? - The Nation, July 17, 2006
...According to Chaisak Angsuwan, the director-general of the DCA, it is not the ICAO's mandate to issue such certificates, but the organisation three years ago set new guidelines that can be used by member governments to conduct their own certifications.
Somchai Sawasdeepon, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, said: "Technically, we do not need to have any international certification to operate Suvarnabhumi...


Fingers crossed for airport move - Stickman Weekly, July 9, 2006
Stickman's column has some interesting notes about the new airport: ...Concerned about glitches in the opening of Suvaranbhumi, Hans discussed other Asian airport openings. The Kuala Lumpur Airport, designed for about half the passengers as Suvaranbhumi, opened 10 days after the disastrous opening of the Hong Kong International Airport. Hong Kong news coverage allowed the problems at KL to go relatively unnoticed. Of note, however, on opening day of the KL airport, 25% of the staff did not show up because they thought there would be too many problems to deal with. Hans also explained that the baggage handling system is really the key to successful airport operations. The new Bangkok airport will be tested July 27 when volunteer passengers will be used to simulate operations.


AFP graphic about the new airport - July 2, 2006
...world's largest single building...


Suvarnabhumi gets interim code - Bangkok Post, July 6, 2006
To the international aviation industry, Suvarnabhumi airport will soon be known under the code-name NBK while Bangkok's international airport moves from Don Muang to the new site...
The code will be used for a period after the hoped-for opening of Suvarnabhumi airport for commercial services on Sept 28, until operations run smoothly.
Then the IATA code for the 125-billion-baht new airport will be changed to the designated name for Bangkok's international airport--BKK--which is currently used by Don Muang airport.
Don Muang is being stripped of the BKK code as it will no longer serve as Bangkok's international airport after the much-delayed Suvarnabhumi opens...
Reservation slips for the inaugural commercial flights from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi on July 29 will be BKK-NBK...


Industry hopes for smooth opening - Don Muang airport decision welcomed - Bangkok Post, June 22, 2006
Although airlines remain sceptical about whether Suvarnabhumi airport will be ready for commercial use on Sept 28, they have welcomed the government's decision to close Don Muang airport. Airlines and industry groups contacted by the Bangkok Post were not convinced that the new airport would open when scheduled and warned that rushing operations could result in costs and embarrassment for the country...

Cabinet approves plan for Maha Nakhon Suvarnabhumi - TNA, June 20, 2006

Test flights for new airport set on July 29 - Bangkok Post, June 9, 2006
Thailand's domestic and budget carriers will conduct test flights in and out of the new Suvarnabhumi airport on July 29. Airlines, including Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, One-Two-Go, PB Air and Thai AirAsia, yesterday agreed to take part in the drill as politicians and authorities set their sights on opening the airport on Sept 28 after numerous delays...
Authorities indicated earlier that Don Muang would remain open for domestic, low-cost and charter flights...

Suvarnabhumi Airport set to open on Sept 28 - TNA, June 8, 2006
[This date would make it exactly one year since the airport had a "soft launch" with Prime Minister Thaksin landing in a plane at the incomplete airport.]
Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport is now set to open for commercial purposes on September 28, the Transport Ministry announced here on Wednesday...


Airport lift for Bangkok - AP, May 26, 2006
The Thai government is aiming to open Bangkok's new international airport by September after a rush to mend troubles from a leaking roof and runway cracks...

Thaksin says Suvarnabhumi will open no later than September - The Nation, May 26, 2006
Suvarnabhumi Airport to open before October - TNA, May 25, 2006
Caretaker Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal on Wednesday confirmed that Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport would be opened for commercial services before the high season would begin in October...


Opening date of Suvarnabhumi Airport to be announced in June - TNA, May 16, 2006

Democrat calls on Govt to set exact opening date of Suvarnabhumi airport - The Nation, May 7, 2006
The Democrat Party Sunday called on the government to set exact opening date of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Democrat spokesman Ong-arj Klampaibool said the uncertainty of the airport's opening had affected confidence of representative of international airlines.
Ong-arj said confusion occurred after Deputy Transport Minister Gen Chaiyanan Charoensiri had said the airport's construction could not be finished in time for the initial opening schedule in June or July while Transport Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal and acting caretaker Prime Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya said the airport would be opened as initially scheduled.

Airport to open in August 'at latest' - Bangkok Post, May 3, 2006
The much-delayed Suvarnabhumi airport will open in August at the latest, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Wannasathit said yesterday. ''The government will announce the exact opening date in June,'' he said...

Tale of two newspapers

Suvarnabhumi Airport to be opened in July as scheduled: Chidchai - The Nation, April 28, 2006
...Chidchai said the new airport would be opened in July as scheduled...

'A tale of two newspapers' archives
Delays foreseen in opening of new airport - TNA, April 29, 2006
Caretaker Deputy Transport Minister Gen. Chainant Charoensiri has expressed his concern that a planned opening of Suvarnabhumi international airport this July could be delayed due to extensive repairs on the passenger terminal and of roofing fabric on concourse buildings...

IATA urges Thailand to delay opening - Bangkok Post, April 16, 2006
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Thailand to postpone the opening of Suvarnabhumi airport from around early July to December, citing problems by member airlines in entering a passenger building to set up their service systems...

Mystery over fate of Don Muang - Bangkok Post, April 11, 2006
...Mr Pongsak yesterday indicated that all air-transport activities, except chartered flights, at Don Muang would be moved to Suvarnabhumi, east of the capital.
The statement contradicted his words on Saturday, when he said Don Muang would continue to cater for domestic and chartered flights, while the 125-billion-baht new airport would serve international flights and other air services...


Suvarnabhumi Airport to open for commercial use by year end - TNA, April 6, 2006
Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi International Airport will be operable by the end of 2007 though later than originally understood...


Airport won't open in June - The Nation, April 3, 2006
Suvarnabhumi Airport is unlikely to be ready to begin commercial operations in June, Deputy Transport Minister General Chaiyanan Charoensiri said Monday.
Chaiyanan said work was still to be completed in several parts of the terminal, including the roof, ahead of a comprehensive safety test to be carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation...


Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi airport seven months from completion
- TNA, April 3, 2006
It will take at least seven months to give the finishing touches to the Thai capital's new Suvarnabhumi airport, Deputy Transport Minister Chainant Charoensiri said Monday.
It is impossible for the Suvarnabhumi airport to be opened commercially in June as earlier scheduled as an added seven months is still needed for testing systems and to complete unfinished work such as furnishing about 200 shops in the passenger terminals, Gen. Chainun said.
In addition, the specialised heavy-duty canvas used to cover the roof needed repairing and it would take about seven months, he said...

Airlines skeptical of airport's launch date - IHT, March 16, 2006
Despite repeated assurances from Airports of Thailand (AoT) officials that Suvarnabhumi International Airport will be operational in June, executives of international airlines said the multibillion-dollar airport is more likely to open by the end of the year...

PM reaffirms Suvarnabhumi Airport to open late June - TNA, January 28, 2006

New Bangkok airport to open on time despite fire - TNA, Janaury 19, 2006
Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi International Airport will open for commercial use in June as scheduled despite a fire at a flight catering building of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) inside the airport Wednesday evening, Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said...


Cost-cutting causes peeling on runway - Bangkok Post, January 19, 2006
Repairs are needed to the southern end of the west runway at Suvarnabhumi airport which has begun to peel because of cost-cutting during construction, and Deputy Transport Minister Chainant Charoensiri has launched an inquiry. Gen Chainant said yesterday he had assigned Bancha Pattanaporn, acting president of Airports of Thailand (AOT), to have the runway section repaired and improved to the same high specifications of the remainder of the surface...


Free flow: Can new Thai airport deliver the goods? - International Herald Tribune, January 18, 2006
...Future clients of the airport say that with the all-new facility, Suvarnabhumi's managers, Airports of Thailand, have an opportunity to start afresh with services that are efficient and cost-effective by world standards, unlike Don Muang, where efficiency was undermined by a lack of transparency and decisions made on the fly...

SUVARNABHUMI FIRE: Hundreds flee airport blaze - The Nation, January 19, 2006
And Cracks found in western runway - The Nation, January 19, 2006

Suvarnabhumi Airport to be ready for use in 180 days: PM - The Nation, December 28, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Wednesday that he would inform all airlines that the Survanarbhumi International Airport will be ready for use in 180 days...

Need for full testing may push opening beyond June target - Bangkok Post, December 22, 2005
The opening of Suvarnabhumi airport, now tentatively set for June next year, could be further delayed until all systems have been thoroughly tested. Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said yesterday the construction of the airport in Samut Prakan was almost finished, but he could not say for certain whether it would open in June...


Official opening of new Suvarnabhumi Airport likely to postpone - TNA, December 22, 2005
The government has not yet set the exact date for the official opening of Bangkok's new international airport, the Suvarnabhumi Airport, as the airport's inauguration for commercial purposes is likely to be postponed from June 2006, the Ministry of Transport announced here on Wednesday...

'CRACKED' RUNWAY REPORT: Source had link to ruling party - The Nation, December 21, 2005
Fired 'Bangkok Post' editor says cousin of top TRT figure fed him information; sues for Bt13m damages and return of job...


New Bangkok Airport AIMS testing to be complete in April - TNA, December 1, 2005
The overall testing of the new Suvarnabhumi Airport's administrative and information management system (AIMS) is expected to be complete by April next year, two months prior to the official opening to commercial traffic set in June, according to Airport Director Somchai Sawasdeepol...


Government urged not to rush airport - Fate of Don Muang to be decided today - Bangkok Post, November 24, 2005
..."It would more realistic to assume that the new Bangkok international airport is ready toward the end of next year or early in 2007,'' said Dr Virabongsa, who is also a board member of the Bangkok Airways.
...Prime Minister Thaksin is due to have the final say on recommendations for Don Muang's role today...

Minister concerned by construction delays at Suvarnabhumi Airport - TNA, November 19, 2005
...Gen. Chainant promised to fully exercise his mandate to push for completion o the Suvarnabhumi Airport within the timeframe set by the government so that the airport could be opened by mid-2006 as announced by the Thai government.
"The scheduled opening for commercial purposes of the airport is the government policy which must be met," he stressed...


SUVARNABHUMI FRESH DELAYS HIT AIRPORT - Opening may be put off again - TNA, October 27, 2005
...Mr Thaksin admitted yesterday the AIMS was delayed, but said contractors insisted it could be accelerated to meet the June deadline. Gen Chainant said the AIMS was a major concern as the software was still being written.

OVERDRIVE: Suvarnabhumi paean proves prophetic - The Nation, October 21, 2005

Photos from the airport 'opening' - October 8, 2005
Victor writes: I found some pictures of the "soft-opening" flight on Sept. 29th, on this architecture forum. They've got some pretty sweet pics!


Thai PM opens unfinished airport - BBC, 2005
[Note the sarcastic headline.]
...This extravagant spectacle was organised on the orders of Prime Minister Thaksin, because he had promised the country that the airport would be completed by Thursday.
The expanses of bare concrete, unsurfaced roads and half finished buildings told a different story though.
Even the government now concedes the airport will not be ready to handle commercial flights until June next year...

From the Thai-language press: Matichon editorial: Must talk about "The Opportunity" - October 3, 2005

TV broadcasts about Suwannapoomi Airport on the day of the auspicious inauguration used language as though people are under an obligation of politicians who created the airport. It may be partly true, but if we think that politicians volunteer to work for people, this issue may be rejected because this is politicians’ duty and responsibility to serve the nation not make people feel under their obligation.

If we follow the Nong-ngoohao Airport story since the beginning, more than 40 years ago, it shows the insufficiency of politicians and they were only interested in being elected. Compare with the neighbor or international countries, the sufficiency of our politicians falls far short.

As we know material modernization is a part of economic growth and we have lots of neighbor competitor countries that have lots of abilities. Some are behind us, but at present many more are more modernized than Thailand.

In the view of competition, for the Suwanapoom Airport, the slower we finish, the less successful we are. Because we have obstructed progress by trickery for benefit of a few and this showed we lack professional politicians. We have only electioneers who are insufficient in both ideas and management.

Media work is not easy as holding the microphone or tape recorder in hand. We have to study hard at least knowing peoples’ minds really enough to show opinion or vision. If we do not know, we just report the truth that is expedient. At worst, if we can think, instead being people who work for status in government, we should think for those people who lost opportunity from the past up to now because we elected politician to get benefit for themselves. For the airport construction, people have known it was notorious since the beginning. So it is not a surprise to see the electioneers are fatter during this time.

No kind word for the new airport - September 30, 2005
The Nation has several articles about the airport's soft opening--all with an extremely negative spin. Post has a tough editorial...

SUVARNABHUMI'S SOFT LAUNCH: Airport passes 'test' - The Nation, September 30, 2005
Thaksin dodges tough questions as controversy-plagued facility is unveiled to the world with gala ceremony
Suvarnabhumi Inter-national Airport passed another significant milestone in its controversial history yesterday when its inaugural test flight - which Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra turned into a major publicity stunt - landed safely.
The "soft launch" of the incomplete airport, plagued by massive corruption charges and arguably the world's longest-running project of its kind, reportedly cost taxpayers in the vicinity of Bt10 million.
When asked by a BBC reporter why the government had to organise yesterday's event to "test" the airport now, Thaksin replied: "I didn't expect this sort of question from the BBC..."


EDITORIAL: Premature bash for new airport - The Nation, September 30, 2005

OVERDRIVE: The Guinness world records of Suvarnabhumi - The Nation, September 30, 2005
...Suvarnabhumi has the world's largest runway, capable of accommodating any size of aircraft that Boeing or Airbus plans to manufacture. Another equally controversial emergency decree will be issued to bar vendors from selling their food along the new airport's runway...

STREET WISE: PM's 'coolie' remark chafes - The Nation, September 30, 2005
Yesterday, everyone involved in the Suvarnabhumi Airport development had every reason to be jubilant, and no one had a bigger grin than Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Even though he had the Thai refugee issue on his mind, he was in a buoyant mood. As the airport construction is nearing completion, he thanked everybody, "Last but not least," he said, "I also have to thank the 'coolies' - those who worked so hard in the construction..."

PM praises new airport - Suvarnabhumi 'can match any in world' - Bangkok Post, September 30, 2005
...When asked by a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter what the purpose of yesterday's exercise was, as the airport was still a long way from being completed, Mr Thaksin appeared a little upset.
"I don't expect this kind of question from the BBC. But I will explain, anyway. We needed to set a date so that the work could be finished as soon as possible.
"If we didn't set a date, the schedule would slip further behind and this would have cost the country more ... We set today so that everyone had a goal, so that they could work actively,'' he added...


Punters look to airport test for lucky numbers - Bangkok Post, September 30, 2005
Thais were glued to the television yesterday to watch the landing and take-off trial at Suvarnabhumi airport, in the hope it would yield lucky numbers for tomorrow's lottery draw. ``People called me to book numbers 929, 919, 29, 92, 992 and 229 or those numbers backwards. I think major bookies might have to suspend the booking or pay winners only half of full prizes,'' a major bookmaker said...


Media given chance to see scanners in action - Bangkok Post, September 30, 2005

Bullets prey on mind of THAI's test pilot
- Bangkok Post, September 30, 2005
...Capt Norahat said THAI feared for the safety of passengers on the flight because of the troubles in the South. Consequently, six Royal Thai Air Force F16s were deployed to provide protection at both the front and rear of the airplane...

A publicity stunt just to save face - Bangkok Post, September 30, 2005
...In preparation, both the French- and American-made aircraft had done test runs over two days. That means eight trips to Suvarnabhumi and another eight trips back to base. Sixteen trips by high-powered passenger aircraft belonging to the national flag carrier and fighter planes of the Royal Thai Air Force burn a lot of petrol on taxpayer money. That made no sense when a test flight has to be made six months before the commercial opening...

Successful landing gives big boost - But experts warn against rush to open - Bangkok Post, September 30, 2005


(Photo: Manager)

Thai Humor: Egrets vs. the vultures - September 30, 2005
Poojadkuan jokes: Nong Ngoohao - The head of cattle egrets submitted a letter to Minister Pongsak begging him not to chase them from the airport and said the vultures are more of a danger. If he wants to chase he has to use the same standard and no discrimination because they (the cattle egrets) have lived there for a long time. [The 'vultures' are a group of people who take benefits or are corrupt in reference to the many corruption scandals that surround the Suwanaphumi airport project.]
More Poojadkuan columns


TNA's take on the airport opening
PM's inaugural flight successfully lands on Suvarnabhumi Airport - TNA, September 29, 2005
Thailand to welcome the New Year at Suvarnabhumi Airport - TNA, September 29, 2005

Set for take-off - The Nation, September 28, 2005
...It was an awkward moment that reflected the overall anxiety at the airport ahead of tomorrow's "first technical flight" by Thaksin and hundreds of honoured guests aboard an Airbus 340-600. Members of the press will board a separate flight from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi Airport on a Boeing 747-400.
Although the new airport won't be commercially operational until next year, airport staff are still eager to ensure a perfect landing.
Originally, the government planned to open the airport for commercial use from tomorrow to mark the fifth anniversary of the bestowing of its auspicious name, Suvarnabhumi (meaning "golden land") by His Majesty the King on September 29, 2000. But delays have forced the Thaksin government to scale down tomorrow's ceremony from a grand opening to a simpler ceremony marking the first technical flight...


First plane lands at Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Bangkok Post, 1:40pm, September 27, 2005
Post reports: The first plane lands at Suvarnabhumi Airport - Thai Airways Airbus 340-600 practising Thursday's planned flight to carry Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.


Rehearsal of inaugural flight at Suvarnabhumi Airport successful - TNA, September 27, 2005
...On the inaugural flight, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will lead his cabinet members to board the THAI Airbus 340-600 aircraft, named Watana Nakhon, to leave the Don Muang Airport at 8:29 a.m. to land on the Suvarnabhumi Airport's eastern runway at 9:09 a.m. on September 29.
Journalists will be invited aboard a THAI Boeing 747-400 aircraft to land at the airport's western runway.
The prime minister will walk through Gate E1 to a passenger terminal...


Suvarnabhumi Airport lesson for mega-projects - TNA, September 27, 2005
...Mr. Sripoom, now President of the Aviation Industry Association of Thailand, said that design and construction of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport had been so time-consuming and riddled with numerous changes that business opportunities had been lost and hundreds of million baht in funding wasted...

PM confident Suvarnabhumi Airport to open by June next year
- TNA, September 27, 2005


Suvarnabhumi Airport opening-June '06
- The Nation, September 15, 2005
Bangkok's new Suwarnabhumi international airport will open for commercial operations in June of next year at the earliest and October at the latest, Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said Thursday...


All set for new Bangkok airport inaugural flight - TNA, September 6, 2005
...Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be aboard the first aircraft to land. His Airbus 340-600 is due to arrive at 0939 on September 29th. A planeload of journalists and other media representatives will follow in a Boeing 747...

NBIA opts for 'Scenario Two' - Homes to southeast to get worst airport noise - Bangkok Post, September 2, 2005
...Under the selected scenario, the north end of the western and eastern runways will be mainly used for landings.
The south end of the eastern runway will be primarily used for takeoffs. The south end of the western runway, meanwhile, will be left idle.
This means people living southeast of the airport will be hardest hit by aircraft noise as a plane's takeoff creates a much louder noise than the landing...


World leaders to be invited to airport opening - The Nation, August 25, 2005
[As predicted, the government will land a plane at the new airport on September 29 to declare it 'finished' on time.]
...Thaksin will preside over the initial trial flight. He and his entourage will be passengers aboard a THAI Airbus A340-600 departing from Don Muang Airport that morning. The aircraft will fly over the Central Plains and land on Suvarnabhumi Airport's eastern runway.
The group will be processed through Immigration and Customs and out into the arrival area. They will then return to the aircraft, undergoing standard boarding procedures, and then fly back to Don Muang...

Construction of Suvarnabhumi Airport to be accelerated - TNA, August 4, 2005
...He admitted finding that the airport's construction was about 8 months behind schedule since the beginning...

Opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport to be delayed by 6-8 months - The Nation, July 28, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Thursday admitted that Suvarnabhumi Airport will miss its scheduled September opening by 6 to 8 months.
The delay is due to landscaping and road links into and around the airport, Thaksin said...

PM threatens to blacklist airport contractors for delay - The Nation, July 27, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Wednesday threatened to blacklist contractors from future government projects if Bangkok's long-delayed new international airport is not finished within two months...


Airport could be delayed a year
- Bangkok Post, July 23, 2005
Construction work which is behind schedule could delay the opening of Suvarnabhumi airport for a year to September next year at the latest, a source at New Bangkok International Airport Co (NBIA) said yesterday...
But Mr Suriya still expected construction to be finished by Sept 29 this year as planned...

New airport a hub of graft? - Bangkok Post, July 22, 2005
The multi-billion-baht Suvarnabhumi Airport project which is due to be completed in September continues to be dogged by corruption scandals. With the controversy over CTX bomb detectors still fresh in the memory of the public, a new scandal has emerged about another important airport facility and, this time, it implicates a sibling of the Shinawatra family.
Democrat MP Alongkorn Polabutr has publicly accused Mrs Yaowaret Shinawatra, a sister of Prime Minister Thaksin, of receiving 25 million baht in kickback from Rush Fur Thai Company, allegedly in exchange for helping the firm win a contract to build a car park at the new airport...


Suvarnabhumi Airport at Don Muang - July 18, 2005
Nils writes: Here is a model of Suvarnabhumi Airport as seen in Don Muang's domestic terminal.


(Photo: Nils)


(Photo: Nils)

Firms face fines as new airport is delayed - The Nation, June 27, 2005
Construction of the Suvarnabhumi Airport has been delayed by 6.95 per cent as of April, an Airport of Thailand Plc source said yesterday.
Nine construction contractors face being fined for the delay including ITO group, which is responsible for the construction of passenger buildings worth Bt15 billion. Construction was scheduled for completion on March 31 but has been delayed by 9.26 per cent due to hold-ups with interior decoration and the security system as well as passenger-bags checking...


CTX scandal delays construction of new Bangkok airport - TNA, June 27, 2005
The overall construction of the New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA), or Suvarnabhumi Airport, as at the end of April 2005 is almost 7% behind schedule partly because of the CTX bribery scandal, according to a source at Airports of Thailand Co., Ltd. (AOT)...

Just don’t ask when? - Bangkok Post, June 3, 2005
...Thai Airways International’s president Kanok Abhiradee yesterday fell victim to the international press after a meeting of the Star Alliance chief executive’s board in Nagoya, Japan.
Journalists fired salvoes of questions at the THAI president about the opening, originally slated for September 29 this year.
Indeed, they deserve to know the date, given that the government is touting the airport as the cornerstone of Thailand’s transformation into a regional aviation hub...
Kanok initially confirmed fears that the opening may be postponed. And so reporters turned their attention to the next obvious line of questioning: When will the airport open?
Faced with that stickler, Kanok offered no comments of substance.
“The opening date remains what the government said. If there are any changes, the government will make an official announcement itself,” Kanok said.
But the reporters didn’t stop there; they pursued the matter along the lines of whether Thai Airways envisaged any possible revenue disruptions as a result of further delays.
“We are ready and will be ready to move to Suvarnabhumi whenever it is ready. If it’s not ready, we can still operate at Don Muang [airport]. It won’t affect our operations,”he said.
Well, that certainly didn’t answer the question. It seems nobody knows when the airport is going to open.
But one thing is certain: “When?” is a question that no one feels confident about answering.

Scanner scandal may delay new airport’s opening - TNA, May 29, 2005
...Meanwhile, aviation officials have expressed concern that a delay in the opening of the new international airport could affect Thai Airways International business and allow Singapore’s Changi Airport to become the region’s aviation hub.
...Only sixty percent of the work on the terminal has been completed...

SUVARNABHUMI: Contractor warns over airport delay - The Nation, May 7, 2005
After keeping his lips sealed for two weeks, Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, emerged yesterday declaring that his company-led consortium should not be liable for any delay to the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport due to the complications in scanner procurement.
“We should not be held responsible for this incidental error,” he told a press conference in his first public appearance since the airport scandal broke.
Despite the government’s attempts to blow this affair up into a matter of national honour, Premchai played down the chaos...

Consultant's proposal for deadline extension rejected - Bangkok Post, May 4, 2005
Airports of Thailand Plc has rejected a consultant's proposal that the deadline for the completion of the passenger terminal and aircraft boarding bridges at Suvarnabhumi be extended from March 31 to Sept 28.
The contract with the ITO Joint Venture Group stipulates a 2.5 million baht fine for each day of delay...
Although the airport is due to open in September, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit recently admitted a delay was inevitable, but that it would be no later than ''next year''.

Historic plane to be first to use new Bangkok's airport - MCOT, April 26, 2005
...thanks to the efforts of aviation enthusiasts, a replica of 'Miss Siam' could be the first aircraft to land on the runway of Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi...

New airport to open sometime 'next year' - Bangkok Post, April 4, 2005
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreang-kit has admitted for the first time that delays in Suvarnabhumi international airport's opening are inevitable but vowed it would be no later than "next year''...
On Feb 5, the chairman of the Airports Authority of Thailand, Srisook Chandrangsu, cited March 2006 as the date when Suvarnabhumi international airport would take over from Don Muang. The minister had planned on revealing the new launch date last Thursday, but has now opted to wait for another month...
"I knew from the beginning it would be difficult to meet that deadline. But the deadline had to be set to avoid complacency,'' he said...


New airport construction 'to be completed on schedule' - TNA, March 1, 2005
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit today insisted that construction on Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport would be completed on schedule by 29 September, but confirmed that the actual opening would be delayed...


New airport's opening delayed by six months - Bangkok Post, February 26, 2005
Airports of Thailand admitted for the first time yesterday that Suvarnabhumi Airport will open six months after its originally scheduled opening date of Sept 29.
AoT chairman Srisook Chandrangsu said the delay to March next year is aimed at ensuring the safety of airline passengers. The delay will be spent test-running systems being installed at the new Bangkok international airport, he said.
But he dismissed a notion that the delay was forced by construction problems, saying most construction was only slightly behind schedule and workers would be able to finish projects on time...


Suvannabhum Airport opening may be postponed to March 2006
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi Thai Post, February 24, 2005
Suvannabhum Airport opening may be postponed to March 2006 due to a delay in x-ray machine delivery from USA. ITD + Takenaka will have to pay 2.5 million baht a day as a fine for project delay. The company in the USA has not delivered 10 new x-ray machines despite a deadline of February 28, 2005...


Bangkok's new airport prepares for landings on 29 September
- TNA, February 10, 2005
Airliners will be able to land at Bangkok's new international airport from 29 September this year, the airport authority confirmed today, while admitting that the official date of opening was still dependent on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)...


ICAO experts to help launch massive check on new Bangkok airport - TNA, February 5, 2005
Experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will help thoroughly check operational and safety systems at Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport before it is open later this year...
Their advise came out of worries that accidents had occurred before in several countries, including at airports in Hong Kong and Korea, because they wanted to open the airports as soon as possible, causing accidents, which affected confidence among global passengers, he said...
He stressed that his office would listen to advise of the ICAO's experts.
Construction at the airport is now 86% completed, a delay from an earlier schedule by about 1.8%, and the delay in work is expected to be eliminated within the next one-two months, according to the AOT's chief.


What will the new airport code be? BKK? - January 25, 2005
Dave Milam comments: Just posted about this on Airliners.net. Yes, codes can be transferred. DEN and HKG did it. Next month central Japan Chibu will open and take the NGO airport code. Katami (old Nagoya) will remain open for 50 seats and fewer aircraft and will have a new code. In Osaka KIX opened and OSA was changed to ITM and is still open. SEL is now the new airport with GMP (Gimpo) getting a new code.
So most likely BKK will transfer to the new airport and they will find a new code for Don Muang for whatever use it will have.
Military bases have airport codes also. I used to love my dad's old bag tags from MAC (Military Airlift Command) now AMC (Air Mobility Command).

jpatokal adds: New airport is not SEL, it's ICN (Incheon). SEL is a virtual code referring to ICN & GMP, just like TYO (Tokyo) refers to both NRT and HND. LON(don) is the record-holder here, with one virtual code covering LCY, LGW, LHR, LTN, and STN!
There is also a thread about this on the forum.


New airport proceeding well: THAI - The Nation, January 25, 2005
...At a press conference yesterday, Kobchai said progress on the construction of the new airport’s cargo and mail centre is 76 per cent, catering service facilities are 85 per cent complete, the operations centre is 43 per cent finished, the aircraft maintenance centre is 80 per cent complete and ground support equipment service is 76 per cent complete.
"They should all be ready for service when the new airport opens on September 29," Kobchai noted...

Construction of Bangkok's new airport set for March completion
- TNA, January 24, 2005
Construction on Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport is likely to be completed in March, well ahead of the airport's scheduled September 2005 opening, according to Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI).
Although construction on the airport has been characterized by setbacks, Mr. Chokchai Panyayong, Vice President of the national flag carrier's Project Development Department, insisted yesterday that building work was now 78.7 percent complete...


Slow-coaches at new airport told they face blacklisting - The Nation, January 13, 2005
The Transport Ministry has threatened to blacklist companies whose progress in the construction of the New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA) is 7.5-per-cent slower than set out in their bidding proposals...
The companies believe the project cannot be completed as scheduled on September 29, he said, so they don’t see the need to rush.

New airport to be opened in 2005 - TNA, December 25, 2004
Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today he was optimistic that Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport would be completed and opened in 2005...


Airport progress update: "delayed 2%"
- December 23, 2004
[On December 8, The Nation reported the terminal building, and hence the airport, was delayed six months.]
(from 'Twin city planned near new airport,' Bangkok Post, December 23, 2004) ...As for progress on Suvarnabhumi airport, Mr Thaksin said construction was delayed about 2% but acceleration was possible to keep to the target opening date of Sept 29.
The airport's conveyance belt system faced the biggest delay. The building to house the Airport Information Management System was also delayed but only slightly.
Transport to the new airport would initially depend on road links as the high-speed railway from Makkasan will not be finished until two years after the airport opens...

SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT: Terminal delayed by 6 months - The Nation, December 8, 2004
...completion to be delayed by about six months to April 2006...

Cracks at new airport spark fears - Faults may be due to rush to meet deadline - Bangkok Post, November 20, 2004
...Responding to the questions by the Bangkok Post, Mr Srisook said he had not been told about the cracks. However, sources said several authorities, including the NBIA, had been alerted but nobody paid attention.
The NBIA chairman said construction consultants would be responsible for ensuring quality before the project was handed over to the NBIA.
" I am confident the cracks will have no effect on the project or the safety of the airport. They can be repaired,'' he said.


Panoramas from inside the new airport - November 14, 2004


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above (full-sized image - 324kb) and below (full-sized image - 281kb) looking north from the check-in hall. In the photo above, the escalators on the right go down to the underground train station. Other Thai Panoramas


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

New concern over new airport - Rushing construction may increase hazards - Bangkok Post, October 14, 2004
[Expect a furious response from the government. Whether or not this charge is true, it is politically motivated, coming in the lead up to the elections, and contains the kind of vague insinuations that will be whispered and remembered far and wide unless clearly refuted right away.]
The Thai Concrete Association has appealed against rushing the construction of Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan, citing potential safety risks and long-term structural problems...
Lapses in monitoring, inspection, or complete negligence of important procedures could result in substandard work that may bring long-term structural problems and compromise the safety of operators and users, he said.
..."They may cast concrete when it's raining,'' weakening the strength of the product because the rain increases the water-to-cement ratio, he said.
...The TCA president's warning followed accidents at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on May 23, and at Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates on Sept 27.
...The New Bangkok International Airport company called for a review of the safety of the passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport after the accident at Charles de Gaulle airport.
The concourses at both terminals share similarities in the tube-like shape, and use of glass for the roofs and walls although the American-led Murphy Jahn/TAMS/ACT consortium designed Suvarnabhumi.

'Suvannabhumi airport construction on schedule' - TNA, October 2, 2004
The Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said that the Suvannabhumi international airport would be completed on time and opened on 29 September next year...


A tale of two headlines: The new airport on opening day
- September 29, 2004

The Post and the Thai News Agency have the same story with the same facts, but the Post does a good job explaining what is really being said-- that a plane or planes will land at the new airport on the opening date, but the airport might not be open for service (this is what 2Bangkok.com has been predicting for some time).

PM confident Suvarnabhumi Airport will be opened as scheduled - TNA, September 28, 2004
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday confirmed the New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA), or Suvarnabhumi Airport, would be ready for the takeoff and landing of planes as scheduled on September 29, 2005...
PM: New airport may not open on schedule - Bangkok Post, September 28, 2004
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra admitted for the first time yesterday that Suvarnabhumi airport might not be open to passenger flights on Sept 29 next year as scheduled...
"It will be fine if the opening is postponed for one or two months next year,'' the prime minister said...
"I confirm that on Sept 29, 2005 aircraft will be able to touch down at the new airport, but whether it can open for service depends on the ICAO issuing a licence to operate,'' he told reporters...


One year from today the new Bangkok airport is scheduled to open
Airport countdown: 365 days until the Suvarnabhumi Airport opens.

Spirit house for the new airport - Bangkok Post, September 27, 2004
Some people believe delays in getting the Suvarnabhumi (originally known as Nong Ngu Hao) airport project off the ground stem not from man-made errors but supernatural phenomena.
Srisook Chandrangsu, the transport permanent secretary and chairman of the New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA), believes the absence of a shrine might have caused many problems affecting the project. One has now been built...

On-schedule completion of airport 'still possible' - Bangkok Post, September 27, 2004
The smooth integration of all computerised systems and successful test runs are crucial if Bangkok's new international airport is to open on Sept 29 next year as planned, the chairman of the New Bangkok International Airport Co (NBIA), Srisook Chandrangsu, said...

IATA expresses concern over new airport completion - TNA, September 25, 2004
[Ed.: The cabinet meeting is being held one day before the one-year countdown begins to the scheduled opening of the airport. After the government judges the political ramifications of admitting a delay in opening, some kind of change of schedule could be announced or they could stick to the Taiwanese model. In Taipei they landed a plane at its incomplete Terminal Two and declared it operational. However, full operations will not start for another two years.]
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday expressed concern over Thailand's ability to construct Bangkok's new international airport on schedule, with IATA representatives grilling Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit on safety issues and landing fees.
Speaking after meeting IATA executives yesterday afternoon, Mr. Suriya said that he had given confirmation that while the construction of Second Bangkok International Airport, or the Suvarnabhumi Airport, was currently experiencing delays, it would be opened on schedule in September next year if all parties cooperated to ensure its completion.
Nonetheless, he hinted that the government's confidence might be wavering, saying that if the airport could not be completed on time, the government would inform IATA by February 2005 at the latest.
On 28 September Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has promised to hold a special cabinet meeting at the airport construction site to review its construction progress...

Government: Bangkok airport on schedule - Reuters, September 21, 2004
Thailand's new international airport is on track to open in September next year as part of the country's plan to become a regional aviation hub, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said on Tuesday...

Airport will not open on time: NBIA - The Nation, September 21, 2004
...“Despite all efforts, there seems to be no way that the airport is going to be open in September next year,” said a source at New Bangkok International Airport Co (NBIA), which is overseeing its progress.
...Last month, the International Air Transport Association estimated Suvarnabhumi would fall 12 to 18 months behind schedule.
The current situation makes this seem almost inevitable. However the government has so far refused to admit any degree of failure or hold up.

How late will the airport be? - Bangkok Post, September 13, 2004
...He [Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit] said if all construction work at the new airport proceeded as planned, the airport could start operations on Sept 29 next year. The government has asked all contractors to speed up their work to meet the construction timetable.
He said the government will know in January if the airport will be able to begin operations on time. At the moment, he said, he was only 80% sure the deadline could be met.
Currently, work at the airport was 68% complete, or about 1.6% behind schedule, the minister said.

Also: (from Suvarnabhumi Airport to be opened next year:MOT) The Second Bangkok International Airport, or the Suvarnabhumi Airport, will be officially opened in September 2005, as earlier scheduled, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit has confirmed.
Mr. Suriya told journalists here today that the Suvarnabhumi Airport would be officially opened on 29 September as scheduled...


Response to airport delay? - September 11, 2004
We have yet to hear any government response to the delays in the new airport construction. At the beginning of August, there were days of claims and counterclaims over a reported 3-6% delay. Now we hear the opening is 18 months behind schedule and not a peep from the government.

‘Significant delay for new airport’ - The Nation, September 7, 2004
[2Bangkok.com was preparing for the one-year countdown to the opening of the airport (originally scheduled to open on September 29, 2005). However, the following discouraging news has been predicted by sources close to the construction work for some time. It will be interesting to see how the government responds to to this. In the past they have angrily insisted the airport will open on time and said contractors would be fined for being late, etc.]
The opening of Suvarnabhumi International Airport is likely to be delayed between 12 and 18 months beyond the original schedule of September next year, International Air Transport Association (IATA) executives said yesterday.
New Bangkok International Airport – the project operator – has a zero chance of getting the airport ready on time, said David Inglis, assistant director for safety operations and infrastructure at IATA...

[AP also is running this story, but mentions the delay in construction as an afterthought (quoting the delay in an opening date as 'at least two years'). Instead they focus on the proposed hikes in landing fees.]
IATA blasts Thailand for planned hike in airport fees - AP, September 6, 2004
...The government had initially set a target of Sept. 29, 2005, for completing the project, but construction delays will push back the opening date by at least two years, said David Inglis, IATA's assistant director in charge of infrastructure.
...Because of the high costs of doing business in Bangkok, British Airways has moved its hub operations to Singapore. Italy's Alitalia also suspended operations, as did South African Airways...

How foreigners see the airport construction - August 11, 2004
A reader found this pessimistic article on the new airport (After 40 years Thailand's mega airport still struggling to materialise, AFP, August 9, 2004): ...It will also be the only airport in the country capable of handling Airbus' new 555-seater A380, and could potentially accommodate 100 million passengers a year once a planned fourth runway is completed.
...Construction only began in January 2002 and that year the International Air Transport Association ominously warned that while it calculated all new airports are 90 percent construction and 10 percent politics, "here in Bangkok it is 99 percent politics."
..."At one point we had to replace all of those (thousands of steel bracing rods) because we found out they were below the size that we needed," he said.
...Despite being just over a year away from opening, the enormous skeletal frame of Suvarnabhumi Airport's futuristic passenger terminal -- covering 536,000 square metres -- still sits at the end of a long dirt road surrounded by churned wasteland and mud.
Thaksin said he was concerned no deal had yet been signed which would see a sealed road built between the freeway and airport, saying the current arrangement would be "uncomfortable and undignified" for passengers...

Bangkok's new airport to be build on time: Contractor - TNA, August 9, 2004
...Premchai Kannasutra, Executive Chairman of Italian-Thai Development, said the reported delays in the airport construction earlier this year was the result of problems in only two projects.
First, the power distribution construction & ductbank network system which is well behind the original schedule.
Secondly, the construction of the airfield pavement which is some 12% behind its schedule.
The building boss said these delays had been caused by the rescheduled delivery of the work site by New Bangkok International Airport Co., Ltd. (NBIA)...

PM blames new airport delays on contractors - TNA, August 8, 2004
[Ed.: Considering the large amount of accusations being swapped recently over of a 2-7% delay in airport construction, it is likely the constructuion is futher behind than is being admitted.]
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today accused building contractors of being responsible for delays in the construction of Bangkok’s new international airport, denying that the Ministry of Transport was in any way at fault.
...However, he noted that the huge level of government interest would strike enough fear into the contractors to ensure that the work was completed on time.

PM orders building of third runway at new Bangkok airport - TNA, August 8, 2004
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today that he had ordered the building of the third runway at the Second Bangkok International Airport, or the Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is now under construction.

ITD disputes airport delays - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, August 4, 2004 & Thaipost, August 5, 2004
ITD is arguing against the Premier Thaksin's clams of a 7% project delay on the new airport. ITD said the project has been delayed only 2-3%. ITD is handing 34% of Suvannabhum Airport construction.
Of 52.505 billion baht:
1) Main contractor - 11.768 billion baht
2) Joint venture - 28.166 billion baht
3) Subcontracting - 12.561 billion baht
So far, ITD has finished government projects at a total price of 24 billion baht. Another 12 billion is waiting for a signing ceremony and they expect growth to reach 30 billion baht revenue for this year.

PM to accelerate construction of Suvarnabhumi Airport - TNA, August 2, 2004
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has ordered the acceleration of construction works of the Second Bangkok International Airport, or the Suvarnabhumi Airport, conceding that the construction of the airport is now 7% behind schedule.
When visiting the airport this morning to inspect progress of its construction works, the Thai leader expressed his dissatisfaction with the delay.
"I saw that the construction of the airport is still 7% behind schedule. This is not good, and the construction must be accelerated, as there are only 14 months left before the new airport is scheduled to be officially opened", he told journalists.
The government has ensured that the new Bangkok International Airport will be officially opened in September 2005, as scheduled.
The prime minister wants the construction of the airport to be completed six months before the schedule so that it will be opened for unofficial test runs.
Mr. Thaksin said that he would seek for explanations of the delay at the forthcoming meeting of New Bangkok International Airport Co., Ltd.'s board, scheduled to be held here next week.

Suvarnabhumi Airport 'to open on schedule' - TNA, July 30, 2004
Bangkok's new international airport will open on schedule in September next year despite concerns over the rising cost of fuel, the chairman of the New Bangkok International Airport Company (NBIA) confirmed yesterday.
Speaking after an NBIA board meeting, Mr. Srisook Chandrangsu said that progress on the airport's construction was now 70 percent complete, and that all building work would be finished by 31 March 2005, with the airport opening its doors to passengers on schedule on 28 September 2005...
Once the Suvarnabhumi Airport is in full operation, the Don Muang Airport will be modified to act as an aircraft maintenance centre and Air Force training ground.

Airport aerial photo - July 25, 2004
Kai reports: I just found a nice aerial picture of the Suvarnabhumi airport that shows the construction progress 3 months ago.


(Photo: Pascal)
Pascal of www.pasci.org took this photo of the new airport on July 14, 2004.

Airport architects - July 1, 2004
The winning design was from the MJTA group of consultants, comprising Murphy Jahn Architecture and TAMS consultant (US) and ACT Engineering consultant (Thailand). From the Murphy Jahn website one can see how the design is similar to their other work.

Aerial photo of the new airport - July 1, 2004
Pongthai C. writes: A photo on www.airliners.net may interest 2Bangkok. It's the bird's eye view of Suvarnabhumi Intl (392kb). P.S. I really love your website, keep it updated. thanks for your dedication on it.

June 2004 - "Three months behind schedule"
Work on Suvarnabhumi airport was already three months behind schedule. (from 'More red tape ties up plans for airport,' Bangkok Post, June 3, 2004)

Designers to check safety at passenger terminal - Bangkok Post, May 26, 2004
...New Bangkok International Airport Co (NBIA) acting head Gen Somchai Somprasong said the new airport's concourses were similar to the one in Paris which collapsed on Sunday...
The concourses of Suvarnabhumi and Charles de Gaulle were tube-like and designed for glass roofs and walls.
Suvarnabhumi's design belongs to the Murphy Jahn/TAMS/ACT consortium but the French design was the work of another firm which lost out in the Suvarnabhumi bidding contest...
Mr Thaksin was worried about delays in the construction of a new train terminal in Makkasan to connect the airport to Bangkok's city centre...

Airport renderings - May 25, 2004
Chatchawal Phansopa points out these great renderings of the new airport interiors from ACT Consultants Co., Ltd.

Changes in design to speed work - Bangkok Post, July 28, 2003
Mr Thaksin, speaking after chairing a meeting of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport Development Committee, said the project was now four months behind schedule.

Mistrust breeding new airport delays - Bangkok Post, July 14, 2003
Distrust over legal issues between the contractor, the developer and the designer of Suvarnabhumi airport is threatening to further delay the multi-billion baht project. Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said the three parties were so preoccupied preparing legal defences against any possible future problem that they were failing to meet their construction deadlines. "They are fully occupied trying to best protect their own interests," he said...

Supertruss! - thaiengineering.com, February 28, 2003
Thanks to Pas of Bangkok Highrises for alerting us to some photos of the 'super truss' roof structure (right) for SBIA terminal.

Prime Minister: New airport to open on Sept 29, 2005 - Bangkok Post, February 1, 2003
...A source said the airport inauguration date was symbolic in that His Majesty the King had given the new Bangkok airport its official name on Sept 29 last year....

Airport delay inevitable unless Bangkok wants flight chaos - Business Day, January 17, 2003
* The new airport was designed to handle 40 million passengers a year, but by the time it opens Thailand may have as many as 45 million visitors a year.
* Security screening of baggage at the new airport will not meet the international standards that apply from 2006.
* There is “no way” that the second runway will be ready in time for the scheduled opening.
* Not enough has yet been done on important issues to ensure the smooth running of an international airport, such as catering, cargo handling, maintenance and cleaning.
These points are further detailed in Concerns about the new airport - Business Day, January 17, 2003

State of the new airport construction - Business Day, January 14, 2003
Report from the site: Officials of the new airport admitted that the east runway, pointed out as barely disturbed ground seen through tall grasses, was running three months late. One reason was that lorries bringing landfill for the runway were prohibited from carrying loads of more than 21 tonnes, whereas previously they could carry up to 36 tonnes. What will one day be the main passenger terminal and concourse has hardly been started. Some concrete pillars and steel supports have been erected and the area is littered with heavy building materials waiting to be removed by giant cranes, so that it is recognisable as a budding building, but nothing yet that resembles the splendid glass palace in the scale models. The roads to the new airport are rough-hewn broad tracks full of dust passing through what is largely still a greenfield site. And the government's response: Suriya attacked NBIA, the project operator, for its lack of coordination with government agencies involved in the airport construction.

Consultant named for airport - Bangkok Post, December 26, 2002
The airline has also made some adjustments to the company's project schedule, opting for fast-track construction management to ensure the project completion by the end of December 2004 and all system testing by March 2005. THAI expects to require another six months to achieve full operational readiness at the Suvarnabhumi airport, in time for its opening scheduled in September 2005.

Airport faces lengthy contractual delays - The Bangkok Post, November 8, 2002
Very brief blurb: A lengthy process for choosing contractors is delaying work on Suvarnabhumi airport, says Sombat Uthaisang, head of the project's acceleration committee.

The 2005 opening date seems increasingly unrealistic... Thai businesses question on-time completion of Suvarnabhumi Airport

September 3, 2002 - PM Thaksin says constuction will be done by December 2004, ready for test run on the system on December 5, 2004, and then official opening on August 12, 2005. and in the same article: So far, the NBIA is 20.1% done (from a 20.5% target)

Response to foreign critics (from the Bangkok Post)
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has promised to have the airport at Nong Ngu Hao completed in 2005 as scheduled. He said he viewed foreign critics of the project as outsiders who did not have all the information but ventured to comment... ``As insiders, we know well what we are doing. I don't think there will be a problem. Do not think the foreigners who criticised us are great. We can solve our own problems and I have got confirmation that it will be completed in time,'' Mr Thaksin said.

Update (January 17, 2003): The Airport's offical construction status report is here (here in Thai). However, it has not been updated since September 30, 2002.

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