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Airports of Thailand to invest $5.6bn to expand capacity

Airports of Thailand President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn addresses the ceremony of the company's 37th anniversary at Suvarnabhumi Airport on June 30. (Photo by Keiichiro Asahara)

BANGKOK -- State-owned Airports of Thailand said on Thursday that it plans to invest about 200 billion baht ($5.6 billion) in the next 10 years to expand capacity at its six airports.

"The competition among world airports is becoming more intense. We need to expand our infrastructure," the company's President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn told reporters at Thursday's news conference in Suvarnabhumi Airport.

He said that there are plans to double the passenger capacity to 90 million at Suvarnabhumi, the main international airport in the country. According to the investment plan announced by Airports of Thailand, Suvarnabhumi will have a third runway and the second terminal by 2021.

As for Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok's hub for budget carriers, the company plans to invest 28 billion baht for terminal renovation and apron expansion. It aims to increase passenger capacity by 10 million to 40 million.

The plan also includes investment of 5 billion to 15 billion baht into the company's four other airports, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai, and Hat Yai.

Nitinai said the company can fund the expansion with internal cash: "We have 55 billion baht in hand, and we will have 25 billion baht cashflow every year."

Tourist arrivals increased by 20% in 2015 from a year ago. Tourism is a key pillar of the Thai economy. Nitinai also said that the expansion plan includes investments in airport security.

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