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Department of Airports to lose 3 facilities to Airports of Thailand



PHOTO: Wikimedia

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has confirmed that 3 airports under Department of Airports management are to be transferred to Airports of Thailand in a bid to boost tourism. Udon Thani, Krabi, and Buriram airports will all be managed by AoT in the hope that they can be transformed into hubs that can handle higher tourist numbers.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the move has been in the works for some time and follows consultation between the ministry, both airport operators, and the Treasury Department, owner of the land on which the 3 airports are situated. From January 1, Udon Thani and Buriram will be managed by AoT, with Krabi to follow at a later stage.

Saksayam says the rate for leasing the land where the 3 airports are located is also likely to change to the rate charged for land on which 6 other AoT airports are located. The 3 leases will also change from being renewable every 3 years and will instead be extended to become 30-year agreements.

Meanwhile, the minister says discussions are underway as to how the DoA might be compensated for the loss of the 3 airports. One suggestion was to award the department a one-off sum based on the projected revenue AoT could earn from the airports over 30 years. Another was to have AoT set aside some of that revenue for the DoA.

The Bangkok Post reports that the DoA is said to oppose the transfer of the 3 airports, pointing out that the profits from 2 of the airports had been used to prop up less successful DoA airports. The department says it will now lose significant revenue and expects to have to seek state aid to keep operating. Out of 29 airports managed by the DoA, only 6 make a profit. According to the Bangkok Post report, they are Udon Thani, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, and Surat Thani.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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