A new satellite terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok was launched last Friday by Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
While presiding over the soft launch event, he stressed the importance of improving the efficiency of Thai airports to increase tourist arrivals, adding that it is one of his government’s short-term policies to stimulate the economy.
“The development of airports to handle tourist arrivals not only brings new opportunities for businesses, but also helps improve the quality of life and well-being of the people,” Srettha said.
He described tourism as Thailand’s major revenue earner and an important economic engine.
Thailand has seen over 19 million foreign tourists between January and mid-September, representing a 270% increase from the same period last year.
“SAT-1 terminal will help raise the capacity of Suvarnabhumi Airport to cope with tourist arrivals throughout the year, in addition to a third runway to be opened in the middle of next year,” the prime minister said.
The newly opened Satellite Terminal 1, also known as SAT-1, is designed to handle 15 million passengers annually – representing a 33% increase in capacity at Bangkok’s main airport. The airport can now accommodate up to 60 million passengers per year, up from 45 million.
At the opening ceremony on Friday, Srettha told participating executives from relevant state agencies that increased airport capacity and efficiency were needed to improve Thailand’s potential as a regional aviation hub and a popular tourist destination. “We need to give assurance to tourists from their first step on Thai soil to their last step boarding a flight home. [We need to] make them impressed so that they come back to Thailand,” he said.
Srettha was accompanied at SAT-1’s soft opening by Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit and other senior officials from relevant agencies.
SAT-1 is connected to the main airport terminal by an underground automated people-mover train system. The building has six storeys, two of them underground, with a total floor area of 251,400 square metres.
The new terminal features 28 aircraft bays, including eight designed for Code F aircraft like the double-decker A380 super jumbo jets and 20 for Code E aircraft such as Boeing B747s.
In the first week of its soft opening, SAT-1 served 14 flights of Thai AirAsia X per day and four flights of Thai VietJet Air per day. The number of flights will rise, and more airlines will use the terminal later this year, officials said.