Today, I would like to show you some information from IATA about the new Bangkok Int'l Airport.
From: BEHRENS David
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 8:12 AM
Subject: Bangkok, Thailand: Suvarnabhumi Airport Updates
ATTENTION: Airlines Operating into Bangkok, Thailand
Although everyone believes politics will force a 28 September 0300
(local Bangkok time) opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport, there is still
a (very) remote possibility that enough public pressure (such as the
Bangkok Post news story below) could bring the operational
stakeholders back in control of the opening date.
The latest on the Bangkok 3-letter airport codes are as follows:
1. Suvarnabhumi Airport will keep the NBK code until 28 SEPT at
03:00 local (27 Sept 2000 UTC) - then this code will disappear.
(NBK is currently being used for international test flights at the
beginning of September & the 2 weeks of domestic flights).
2. Suvarnabhumi Airport will take the code BKK on 28 SEPT at 03:00
local time (27 Sept 2000 UTC).
3. Don Muang will take the new code DMK on 28 SEPT 28 at 03:00
local time (27 Sept 2000 UTC)..
In the area of operations, we have met with Aerothai, Department of
Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Transport and voiced our concerns
with the non-standard runway designators, the non-standard ILS and
the design of instrument procedures. Although there has been some
agreement and understanding in the meetings on the issues, we do not
know what will be corrected and are not sure if the agreement to
notify the differences with ICAO and record them in their AIP (GEN)
will occur before the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Therefore,
we have compiled a list of the issues we have identified and how
they differ (when they do) to the ICAO Standards and Recommended
Practices (see attachment).
Finally there have been many questions on whether Don Muang can be
filed as an alternate airport. Although we have nothing official
stating either way, we have been assured by many that Don Muang will
remain available as an alternate aerodrome. As for the airport
itself, our understanding is that after 28 September Don Muang
Airport will handle only government & military flights, along with
private & charter flights.
David C BEHRENS
Safety, Operations & Infrastructure Asia Pacific
Tel. +65 6239 7161
Fax +65 6536 6267
International Air Transport Association
77 Robinson Road, #05-00
SIA Building, Singapore 068896
All set for an in-your-face landing
Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's determination to rush
Suvarnabhumi Airport's opening on Sept 28, is perilously putting a
great risk of severe disruption, if not total paralysis, to
Thailand's air transport. Looking at the circumstances surrounding
the airport's readiness and listening to well-intended observations
by aviation professionals, it is a foregone conclusion that the
facility will not be up and running smoothly on Sept 28, which is
barely 43 days away.
Most of the more than 70 international carriers, even Thai Airways
International, are most unlikely to be able to completely establish
themselves at Bangkok's 125-billion-baht new airport, whose crucial
systems are not ready, either.
That is due largely to the fact airlines have not been given enough
time to set up offices and integrate themselves with global systems
of their groups and Suvarnabhumi's own airport information
On paper, the Airports of Thailand (AoT) Plc ''granted'' permission
for airlines to move into the new airport on July 19. But in
reality, airlines have not been able to do so until lately, partly
because of their own internal preparation problems, like getting
budgets and securing supporting facilities, and airport access
difficulties. My recent terminal tour showed that most of
the ''offices'' purportedly for airlines remain empty rooms, with
names of the carriers printed on white A-4 size sheets of paper
stuck on glass walls or aluminium counters with scotch tape.
Airlines would normally need six months to prepare themselves at a
new site, ensuring that their complex computer systems worked
efficiently and staff are suitably familiarised with the new
operating environment and systems.
It is common knowledge in the industry that the AoT's baggage
systems have not been able to achieve the performance results AoT
had hoped for in the ongoing trial runs. It still takes some 40
minutes for baggage to arrive at the carousel in the arrival halls.
The readiness of the airlines and the baggage system have become the
most worrisome and crucial factors that will affect passengers,
rather than just the impressive terminal interior and runways which
the AoT has been showcasing.
The airport's mandated timing just before the peak season, in the
last week of Oct when flight volume doubles, will significantly
multiply the magnitude of problems if the airlines and airport are
not able to operate effectively. It is a pity the Transport Ministry
and AoT have chosen to only follow the Sept 28 mandate given by Mr
Thaksin, come hell or high water, without rational consultations,
even turning a deaf ear to the aviation industry's warnings. None of
the authorities seems to have the courage to tell Mr Thaksin the
truth that the airport will not be ready on Sept 28 knowing that the
premier is banking on a successful opening to give him a pre-
They seem to forget that the parties they should listen to more and
work together very closely with are not the politicians but the
carriers, their long-term business partners whose commitment to
providing good passenger services is also at stake if an airport
fouls up. As repeatedly suggested by global aviation experts, Mr
Thaksin himself should learn from the mistakes at Hong Kong
International Airport (HKIA) and Kuala Lumpur International Airport
(KLIA). Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad wanted to
pip Hong Kong and opened KLIA prematurely _ with the ensuing mess,
not to mention huge embarrassment. The Hong Kong government ignored
professional advice and launched HKIA anyway, and the airlines and
passengers had two weeks of complete chaos. Meanwhile, the South
Korean authorities patiently waited for the optimum time to open
their Inchoen International Airport, and there were no glitches. Mr
Thaksin should be wise enough (as he has always been in his
political games) not to stubbornly push for Suvarnabhumi's early
opening. What he should do, as has been asked by the industry, is to
allow a few more months after Sept 28, for authorities and industry
to complete all necessary work and testing to ensure the smooth
launch of what the AoT calls ''the pride of Thailand''.
Boonsong Kositchotethana is Deputy Assignment Editor (Business),