BANGKOK -- Construction workers are back at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which wants to be able handle twice as many passengers as it does today.
Airports of Thailand, which manages six gateways in the country, will invest about 55 billion baht ($1.57 billion) in three stages in this, the first leg of a three-phase expansion.
The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
"It is the first step in Suvarnabhumi Airport becoming an Asian hub," Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday.
Construction giant Italian-Thai Development and other entities will build the new parking capacity.
At the end of this year, work to expand an existing terminal will be put out to tender. Then, in the first half of 2017, the AOT will ask for bids on introducing an inspection system to identify dangerous items.
The AOT expects the airport to be able to handle 60 million passengers, a 30% increase, by the time this work is completed.
The second stage of the overall expansion plan is to involve construction of a second terminal. In the final stage, a third runway is to be added.
By 2021, when all the expansion work is scheduled to be finished, the airport will be able to handle 90 million people a year, twice the current level.
Suvarnabhumi Airport, the gateway to Bangkok, is operating at full capacity and is finding it difficult to add more flights.
The expansion is part of a 10-year airports development plan that the AOT released in July. Some 200 billion baht is being budgeted for the plan, 117 billion of which is to be allocated to Suvarnabhumi.