Suvarnabhumi Airport’s SAT-1 terminal to soft-launch boosting capacity by 33%

Photo by Joy Presbitero on Unsplash

Suvarnabhumi International Airport, governed by Airports of Thailand (AoT), is set to soft-launch its Satellite 1 (SAT-1) terminal on September 28, following a successful full-scale trial involving 180 mock passengers and their luggage. The trial aimed to evaluate operations at both the SAT-1 satellite passenger terminal and the primary terminal, with Thai Airways offering assistance by supplying cabin crew and aircraft for the process.

Kittipong Kittikachorn, the Director of Suvarnabhumi, stated that the trial encompassed a comprehensive operation involving aircraft, incoming and outgoing passengers, transfer passengers, baggage handling systems, and cargo operations. The Immigration Division 2, the Cargo Clearance Customs Bureau, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand and Bangkok Aviation Fuel Services were also present to oversee the operations, he added.

Kittipong also revealed that two additional trials are scheduled for the coming days, with Thai AirAsia X and Worldwide Flight Services Bangkok Air Ground Handling Co Ltd conducting one on Tuesday, and Thai Vietjet conducting another on September 20. The latter trial is specifically designed for departing passengers on night flights.

The director further elaborated that between September 28 and October 28, the SAT-1 terminal will be open to three airlines: Thai AirAsia X, VietJet Air, and Emirates, during the soft-opening phase. The new terminal is projected to be fully operational by December this year, ultimately providing a solution to reduce congestion at the main terminal.

The SAT-1 terminal, which has a capacity of handling 15 million passengers annually, will enable Suvarnabhumi Airport to cater to up to 60 million passengers a year, marking a significant 33% increase. The terminal boasts 28 contact gates, with eight specifically designed to accommodate Code F aircraft (the double-decker A380 superjumbo jets) and the remaining 20 for Code E aircraft (Boeing B747s).

The terminal’s four-storey facility spans a total floor area of 216,000 square metres, with two underground floors dedicated to hosting the Automated People Mover (APM) train system and other systems. The APM train system, designed to connect the SAT-1 and the existing passenger terminal, can accommodate 210 passengers per train, or roughly 6,000 passengers per hour. Each trip on the train, which has a maximum speed of 80kph, takes a mere three minutes, Kittikachorn added.

The commencement of the SAT-1 terminal will eliminate the need for international passengers to take shuttle buses to their gates, boosting convenience and efficiency, reports Bangkok Post.

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