AoT to create subsidiary for managing small state airports

Udon Thani International Airport. Image courtesy of Sakhon Nakhon

Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is considering the establishment of a subsidiary to manage small airports that are currently under the financially troubled Department of Airports. This initiative aligns with the government’s strategy to stabilise state finances.

AoT President Kirati Kijmanawat announced today, June 4, that the proposed subsidiary would operate directly under AoT, with the parent company and Vayupak funds being the primary shareholders.

The structure would exclude private investors due to the involvement of state assets.

According to Kirati, The plan is currently under study and is expected to be finalised within six months.

The agency is gearing up to take over local airports from the Department of Airports as part of government policy. The first three airports slated for transfer are Buriram, Udon Thani, and Krabi, previously approved by the former administration.

Kirati added that AoT is awaiting the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s approval to finalise the transfer of these three airports.

Further acquisitions of other airports from the department are also on the horizon. However, Kirati clarified that AoT’s commitment to taking over additional airports would depend on their business potential and the approval of AoT shareholders.

He highlighted that airports in Khon Kaen, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phrae, Nan, and Mae Hong Son have considerable potential, serving both residents and tourists.

Kirati mentioned that one airport that will not be transferred over to the AoT is Tak, as it is used exclusively for testing and artificial rainmaking purposes

The Department of Airports has a total of 25 more airports available for transfer.

The government currently allocates 3 to 4 billion baht annually from the state budget to support the Department of Airports due to the operational losses incurred at its facilities, reported Bangkok Post.

In separate news, The State Railway of Thailand board mandated a review of the Red Line electric train extension project due to concerns that design modifications might interfere with the high-speed rail link connecting Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, and U-Tapao airports.

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Alex Morgan

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