IATA has called on the Thai government to urgently address safety, capacity and costs issues at Thailand’s airports so as to reap the maximum benefits that aviation can bring to the country’s economy.

In IATA’s report on the “Immediate and Long Term Priorities for Thailand’s Airports”, IATA highlighted an urgent need to address soft tarmac spots at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

While multiple remedial attempts have been made to repair the runway tarmac, reported incidents have been steadily increasing, and IATA has urged the Airports of Thailand (AoT) to urgently commit to a permanent solution.

“In addition to being a safety concern, the soft tarmac issue has resulted in runway closures and disruption which have significant knock-on effects, such as missed connections, increased operational costs due to delays,” said Vinoop Goel, IATA’s Regional Director, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, Asia-Pacific.

In the report, IATA reiterated its support for the approval of terminal expansion plans at Suvarnabhumi Airport. With passenger numbers already surpassing the terminal design capacity of 45 million per year—and demand growing by 10% annually—expansion is vital if the airport is to meet demand.

IATA also highlighted that the development of U-Tapao as a third Bangkok airport would be an error. “The focus should be on maximizing throughput and efficiently using the facilities at Suvarnbhumi Airport and Don Mueng Airport,” said Goel.