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Thailand's Mega-Airport Opens

September 27, 2006 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

Thailand's gleaming new $4 billion international airport is finally set to open Thursday, in spite of last week's military coup and the complaints of some airlines that the facility still isn't up to snuff, the Wall Street Journal reports. Suvarnabhumi Airport is the world's newest mega-airport, a high-stakes bid to make Bangkok a hub for global air travel and to boost the Thai economy in the face of stiff opposition from Asian rivals. Built on a marsh known as Cobra Swamp, 25 kilometers east of Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi boasts the world's biggest passenger terminal under a single roof and the tallest control tower. Its footprint is six times as large as congested Don Muang Airport, the country's current international gateway, which will close to all but charter and possibly military flights. Almost 39 million passengers took off and landed at Don Muang last year, making Bangkok the fourth-busiest passenger hub in Asia. Suvarnabhumi could handle as many as 100 million visitors a year, roughly the same number as at John F. Kennedy International, La Guardia and Newark airports combined.

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