Bangkok to Shift Flights to Old Airport

Thailand's Transport Ministry announced that it would recommend that some domestic flights using Bangkok's new international airport be temporarily allowed to use the capital's old airport again, The AP reports. Transport Minister Thira Haocharoen said that his ministry would seek cabinet approval for some non-connecting domestic flights to be allowed to use Bangkok's old international airport at Don Muang. All scheduled commercial airline operations were shifted to the new Suvarnabhumi Airport in September. However, flaws in the new facility, including cracks on the taxiways, have threatened to congest air traffic there. The ministry has ordered the state airport authority to prepare for the reopening of the old airport, which is expected to take place within two months. Thira described the proposal to shift some flights as a temporary measure and said airlines would have 45 days to prepare for the move. "I admit that the government opened the airport prematurely. Normally, a new airport needs to be test-run for six months to one year before it opens," Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Wongcha-um said. He suggested operating some flights from the old airport could become a permanent measure, because traffic at Suvarnabhumi was busy enough to strain its capacity. (DB)

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