Thursday, January 13, 2011

Upgrade for Narathiwat Airport

Narathiwat Airport, the only active airport in the restive south of Thailand, is about to receive a long-awaited runway upgrade.The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is allocating 506 million baht primarily to extending the length of the runway by 500 metres from 2,000 metres so it can accommodate jets the size of an Airbus A300-600 - a wide-bodied aircraft capable of carrying more than 260 passengers. 

The airport, known locally as Baan Thon, is receiving a boost not because of commercial considerations, but due to the government's desire to improve public infrastructure areas hardest hit by insurgents. Local authorities said the upgraded airport would better facilitate air travel of local residents, state officials and security forces on missions to tackle the unrest in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since the strife emerged in early 2004. 

The improved runway, expected to be ready in 2009 at the earliest, will also better accommodate Thai Muslims making the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. Each year, about 70% of the 10,000 Thai Muslim pilgrims who travel to Mecca via the Hat Yai airport are from the country's three strife-torn southern border provinces. Muslims constitute 8% to 10% of Thailand's population of 64 million. 

The Narathiwat airport, owned and operated by DCA, serves one commercial scheduled flight a day by the budget carrier Thai AirAsia, which operates a Boeing 737-300 jetliner capable of carrying 148 passengers. Thai AirAsia started its first Bangkok-Narathiwat service in February 2005 and has since enjoyed a monopoly as the route is shunned by other commercial airliners. 

So far, no airlines have made plans to operate flights through Narathiwat, let alone use larger aircraft. The outlook for future air travel in the area is unclear due to the continued violence.While chances are slim that the Narathiwat airport will see more tourists or business travellers anytime soon, local authorities noted the improvement would prepare the region for the future if peace returns. 

When completed, the Narathiwat airport will be able to park one A300-600, two B737-300s and two Bell 212 helicopters. The only other airport in the region is in Yala, which has a 1,400-metre runway and is occasionally used by the military.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post  | 23 April 2007 |

Thai Polycons Signs Contract for Runway Extension of Narathiwat Airport

A contract was signed between Department of Civil Aviation and joint venture Thai Polycons P.S.M. at the Imperial Hotel, Muang Narathiwat to extend the runway at Narathiwat Airport. The budget for construction is 747,150,000 baht with a contract time of 700 days.

The project is needed to accommodate major events of the people who live in three southern border provinces who may travel to the Hajj Ceremony in Mecca, Saudi Arabia every year.

The government approved the construction budget of 474 million baht to extend the runway from 2,000 meters to 2,500 meters runway to accommodate commercial aircraft such as the 250-seat A300, one aircraft and B737 400, two aircraft. t will also allow aircraft capacity of approximately 80 seats and helicopter parking of type 2/2/HU-IN of two aircraft together at the same time.  

There will also be an upgrade of the electric system within the airport road, improved drainage system and paint marks to comply with standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.