Decommissioned Don Muang airport officially reopens

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Bangkok's former Don Muang International Airport, which was closed to commercial flights nearly six months ago following the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport, officially reopened Sunday for domestic flights.

Senior Transport Ministry officials, including Permanent Secretary for Transport Chaisawat Kittipornpaibul were on hand to welcome passengers boarding four Thai Airways International (THAI) and Nok Air flights.

They also welcomed the first group of passengers travelling by Nok Air from the northeastern province of Udon Thani to land at Don Muang at around 8.30 am.

Services offered to passengers and security measures at Don Muang on the first day of resumed operations were quite smooth, according to Kalaya Pakakrong, acting president of Airports of Thailand.

Only four commercial airlines, including One-Two-Go and Orient Thai airlines, are initially providing services at Don Muang, but other airlines wishing to use the airport will be welcomed as the passenger terminal could cater as many as 11 million people annually, Mrs. Kalaya said.

Patee Sarasin, chief executive officer of budget carrier Nok Air, confirmed that services offered by his airline Sunday morning went on smoothly and he was confident that the transfer of services to Don Muang from Suvarnabhumi Airport would help develop business for Nok Air.

This year Nok Air plans to acquire three more airplanes to cater to anticipated growth, Mr. Patee said.

Passenger Surapan Tumnark, a traveler en route to the southern resort of Phuket, said the reopening of Don Muang will give more choices to passengers in using services.

He said the system at Don Muang is much more convenient than Suvarnabhumi Airport and he wants the government to clearly decide to make use of Don Muang for domestic flights and Suvarnabhumi for international flights.

The reopening of Don Muang will help ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport as its taxiways and main terminal undergo repairs.