Thailand’s Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit reports, Chiang Mai International Airport will begin operating around the clock on Wednesday as part of the government’s Quick-Win economic stimulus programs.
He stated that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin deemed the extended hours necessary due to the anticipation that tourists will rush in during the year’s end peak season, as well as in the future due to visa waivers for Chinese and Kazakhstan travellers, among other causes.
Airports of Thailand (AoT) has verified that the airport in the northern province will expand its existing hours of operation from 6 a.m. to midnight to around-the-clock operations beginning November 1.
Thai VietJet‘s direct flight from Chiang Mai to Osaka, Japan, will be the first to depart after the adjustment. It will depart from Chiang Mai at 12.30 a.m. that day.
Mr Suriya stated that the government has requested that AoT initiate discussions with carriers and relevant parties regarding acceptable flying routes and timetables to take advantage of the extended hours.
To ensure the least impact on adjacent inhabitants, operations must adhere to the airport’s environmental impact assessment criteria, particularly for noise. A reasonable compensation strategy for individuals affected will be discussed as well.
According to Mr Suriya, AoT will also host a public hearing for neighbourhood people later.
Chiang Mai airport currently receives approximately 4,800 tourists per day from 20 international planes.
According to Mr Suriya, the government anticipates that 24-hour service will raise international passenger numbers by around 30%.
Meanwhile, when the prime minister visited Chiang Mai airport yesterday with Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Digital Economy and Society Minister Prasert Jantararuangtong, and Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, the AOT presented details of the second Chiang Mai airport project.
According to government spokeswoman Chai Wacharonke, the new airport would be built on an 11-square-kilometer area of land in the Ban Thi district of the neighbouring province of Lamphun.
The project will increase Chiang Mai’s passenger capacity from eight million to twenty million passengers, with profits expected to increase from two billion to three billion baht each year.
The investment could total 70 billion baht, with a completion date of seven years. According to him, the second airport will relieve congestion at the present Chiang Mai airport.
Mr Srettha stated that the seven-year timescale was appropriate, and that officials should ensure that the new Chiang Mai 2 airport is completed on time.
“The government will do its best to support the project, because having an airport is key to the growth of tourism and logistics, leading to the development of the province,” Mr. Srettha added.
Furthermore, the AOT announced its intention to increase the operating hours of Chiang Mai Airport in order to serve planes around the clock.
The premier stated that having the airport open 24 hours a day will help economic growth, but the government is also concerned about the environmental and health implications.
Residents residing near Chiang Mai Airport expressed their concerns about noise pollution to Mr Srettha. The inhabitants of tambon Mae Hia, who live in Moo 1, 5, 7, and 10, say they have been inconvenienced by planes flying very low and are fearful of danger.
Meanwhile, the AOT stated that noise pollution from airport operations did not exceed the safety standard. If there are complaints, the AoT will compensate people who have been harmed.
If the airport extends its services around the clock, the AOT will organise a public hearing in the impacted communities.
The premier has also directed the AOT, Immigration Bureau, and state agencies to increase security measures when the free-visa programme for Chinese and Kazakhstan tourists begins on September 25 and runs until February 29 of next year.