Author Topic: Chiang Rai Airport has the capacity to cope with rush  (Read 348 times)

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Offline thaiga

Chiang Rai Airport has the capacity to cope with rush
« on: February 20, 2012, 11:17:09 AM »

CHIANG RAI: -- Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport needs no investment to increase capacity ahead of the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), as the airport is still operating below its maximum capacity.

Yuttana Chitrobaree, general manager of the northern airport, said it now accommodates about 800,000 passengers per annum, which is far below its 1.7 million capacity. On the cargo front, it facilitates about 4,000 tonnes against a 5,000-tonne capacity.

"The province's 'living room' is ready to welcome more guests, but it is necessary that all parties in the province join hands to draw more guests," he said during an interview.

He said that should the number of passengers increase due to any Tourism Authority of Thailand campaigns, the airport is more than ready to facilitate their travels. Meanwhile, it is up to the provincial businessmen to come up with plans to boost investment, which would increase demand for air cargo shipment.

Bordering both Laos and Burma and close to China, the northernmost province is expected to enjoy a big economic boost after the regional market takes shape in 2015.

Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport has a 3,000-metre-long, 45-metre-wide runway that can accommodate aircraft as big as an Airbus A300-600.

At present, it caters to scheduled services by five airlines - Thai Airways International, Orient Thai Airlines, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia and Kan Air (which operates very short flights to nearby provinces from Chiang Rai).

Yuttana said that most chartered flights are operated by Chinese airlines, to serve businessmen who are hopping onto flights to Kunming and Macau.

He is confident that a Korean airline will apply for permission to operate soon, following the completion of a golf course and hotel in Wiang Chai district. The complex is developed by Korean investors.

"This should happen when the hotel is completed. At the least, there will be chartered flights to accommodate the tourists from Korea," he said.

Aside from chartered flights, the airport is looking forward to welcoming more airlines, including China Southern Airlines.

"We're ready to service them, with certified safety and service standards," Yuttana said. :uhm

Along with the entire tourism industry, the Chiang Rai airport suffered from a sharp drop in tourist arrivals during the floods in the fourth quarter of last year.

According to Yuttana, the situation has improved slightly following a roadshow to Guangzhou and Beijing in January hosted by Airports of Thailand - which operates six airports in Thailand, including Chiang Rai. Following the roadshow, a Boeing 737-800 chartered flight landed at the airport, bringing in 155 Chinese travellers, who spent four days in the province.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.