Nan Airport (file photo: Rarinthorn Phetcaroen)
The Department of Airports (DoA) is seeking a budget of 40 million baht to fund an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study on the expansion of Nan Airport, which is expected to handle more passengers in the future.
The DoA plans to ask the government for a budget of 40 million baht to conduct the EIA study on expanding the airport runway and constructing a new terminal.
The runway is to be lengthened from 2,000 meters to 2,500 meters to accommodate larger aircraft, said DoA Deputy Director General Jaroon Meesomboon.
The department hopes to secure the study fund to draw from next year’s fiscal budget during which study design will take place. After that, the EIA process will begin.
If the EIA is approved, the expansion of the airport is expected to begin in 2025 with the acquisition of the land needed to add an additional 500 meters to the existing runway.
The construction phase of the runway expansion is expected to begin in 2027 and the project is expected to last two to three years.
Mr. Jaroon said the budget for the entire airport improvement project, including the runway expansion, will be determined after the EIA report is closed.
A longer runway is essential as Nan Nakhon Airport can currently only accommodate small planes. Once the expansion is complete, the airport will be able to receive flights from overseas, especially from China, as well as from major points elsewhere in the country, with the exception of Bangkok, such as Phuket, using more aircraft. fat.
Nan had around 1 million visitors a year before the Covid-19 pandemic hit two years ago. The airport is equipped with a single departure gate despite a forecast of constant increase in passenger traffic in the coming years.
“When multiple flights land at close intervals, the airport gets congested,” Mr Jaroon said.
More and more tourists are visiting the Upper North province after the relaxation of the Covid-19 containment measures. There are more visitors coming to Nan than local residents. Nan has a population of around 400,000.
The ministry was looking to purchase more land for airport improvements.
Currently, Nan Nakhon Airport is served by four commercial airlines: Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, Thai Smile and Thai Lion Air. They offer nine flights a week between them, compared to 12 weekly flights before Covid.
Thai Viet Jet is also asking for the right to open one direct flight per day from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Nan.
On average, the airport handles about 1,000 passengers per day, compared to 1,700 to 2,000 per day before the pandemic. The load factor, or the number of paid seats occupied per flight, is between 70 and 80% from Tuesday to Thursday and between 90 and 100% from Friday to Monday.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, most visitors to Nan are Thais. Only 2% are foreigners.