Chiang Mai Airport plans massive expansion to accommodate 16.5 million travellers

Picture courtesy of The Nation.

Chiang Mai Airport is set to table its expansion proposal to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during his scheduled visit this weekend. The airport’s director, Wijit Kaewsaitiam, revealed that the Thai Cement Manufacturers Association (TCMA) is set to spearhead the construction of the terminal’s first phase.

The extension plan is aimed at significantly increasing the airport’s capacity, allowing it to accommodate over 16.5 million travellers annually, a huge leap from the current eight million. The airport also intends to ramp up its flight operations to 30 flights per hour, effectively doubling its existing capacity.

Wijit also noted that the airport’s operating hours would be extended to operate 24 hours a day. This is to facilitate a higher frequency of international flights, especially those originating from Europe.

“The terminal project is aligned with the strategic plan of the Airports of Thailand and Chiang Mai’s provincial development plan.”

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The first phase of the terminal will take approximately three years to complete and is expected to commence operations in 2029. Additionally, there are considerations for the construction of another airport in the province.

Prime Minister Srettha’s visit to Chiang Mai is scheduled for September 15-17, following his tours of the North East and the South.

On Sunday, September 17, he is expected to engage with locals living in tambon Mae Hia of Muang district in Chiang Mai. This area lies adjacent to the airport and will be affected by the introduction of night flights. Discussions with executives from Chiang Mai Airport are also on his itinerary.

Two weeks ago the 61 year old prime minister made known his plan to revitalise airports in secondary cities, which has been warmly received by tourism operators in Nakhon Ratchasima. The airport revitalisation proposal, aimed at driving up tourist arrivals and stimulating the economy, was announced last month. Read more about the story HERE.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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