The Thai Government, led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, has expressed support for the Airports of Thailand (AOT)’s plan to construct a second airport in Chiang Mai. The project aims to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the northern tourist province.
During a visit to Chiang Mai airport, the AOT presented the project details to the Prime Minister, along with other officials including Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Digital Economy and Society Minister Prasert Jantararuangtong, and Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat.
The new airport will be built on an 11 square kilometer plot in the Ban Thi district of the adjacent province of Lamphun. The project is expected to increase Chiang Mai’s passenger-handling capacity from the current 8 million to 20 million passengers per year, with an estimated 2 to 3 billion baht annual profit. The total investment for the project is estimated to be around 70 billion baht, with completion projected in seven years.
Benefits and Concerns
The second airport is expected to alleviate congestion at the existing Chiang Mai airport and support the growth of tourism and logistics in the region. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin stated that the seven-year timeframe was appropriate, and officials should ensure the new airport is completed as scheduled. The government will provide its full support to the project, recognizing the crucial role of airports in the development of the province.
In addition to the new airport, the AOT also plans to extend the operating hours of Chiang Mai Airport to provide round-the-clock service. While this move supports economic growth, the government remains concerned about the environmental and health impact of such an extension.
Local residents have expressed concerns about noise pollution, particularly from low-flying planes. The AOT has reassured the public that noise pollution from airport operations is within the safety threshold. However, the AOT will provide compensation in case of complaints and will hold a public hearing for affected areas if the airport extends its services around the clock.
Strengthening Safety Measures
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has also directed the AOT, Immigration Bureau, and other state agencies to enhance safety measures in anticipation of the free-visa policy for Chinese and Kazakhstani tourists. The policy will be in effect from September 25 to February 29 next year.