Bangkok - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the government of Thailand to address urgently safety, capacity and cost issues to keep Thailand’s aviation sector competitive.
“Aviation is critical to Thailand’s economic success. It is the backbone of the tourism industry and provides critical global business links. We estimate that today aviation and related activities account for some 2 million Thai jobs and generate $29 billion in GDP. And by 2035 we could see that grow to 3.8 million jobs and $53 billion in GDP. If realized, that potential 83% growth would have a broad and positive impact across the Thai economy. It is in jeopardy, however, unless key issues of safety, capacity and costs are addressed urgently” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Safety: Safety oversight concerns raised by both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must be addressed. The US FAA ranks Thailand in Category 2 of its International Aviation Safety Assessment program.
- Safety concerns about “soft spots” on the tarmac, taxiways and apron area must be permanently resolved. Aircraft frequently get “stuck” in the soft surfaces that are the result of sub-standard materials. The extra power and towing needed to maneuver through these surfaces is a safety risk to ground personnel, ground vehicles and aircraft. On top of that, frequent surface repairs create congestion. “The constant resurfacing of the tarmac, taxiways and apron area with asphalt is an unacceptable patchwork solution. We literally need a “concrete” solution,” said Tyler.
- The airport also faces a capacity crunch. Suvarnabhumi is handling over 52 million passengers. This already exceeds the terminal design capacity of 45 million while demand is growing by 10% annually. Fast tracking the Phase Two terminal expansion would provide much needed terminal capacity. IATA also calls for third runway plans at Subarnabhumi to move forward. “A permanent fix for the frequent tarmac, taxiway and apron closures for resurfacing will address near-term runway capacity concerns. But a runway takes a long-time to build, so it is important that that plans for the third runway continue to move forward,” said Tyler.
- IATA called for broad stakeholder consultation in the development of a long-term masterplan to guide the development of Thailand’s airport infrastructure.
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Notes for Editors:
- IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 260 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.
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