Airports of Thailand (AoT) is content to allow low-cost operators to fly into either of Bangkok's two airports, despite Don Mueang handling most of that traffic.
Speaking to FlightGlobal, AoT's director for aviation business development and marketing Paninee Chaisrakeo says that the state-owned airport operator does not have a policy of forcing low-cost airlines to operate out of Don Mueang. Instead, airlines have the option of choosing their preferred Bangkok airport based on their needs.
An AoT pamphlet profiling the six airports it manages shows that around 94% of Don Mueang's international passengers travel on low-cost operators, versus 11% at Suvarnabhumi. Cirium schedules data shows that VietJet Air, Spring Airlines, Scoot and IndiGo are some of the low-cost carriers that operate from the latter facility.
Domestically, Don Mueang handles all low-cost passengers, while Suvarnabhumi handles 13%.
The growth of carriers including Thai AirAsia, Nok Air and NokScoot from Don Mueang has seen passenger numbers leap in recent years. Chaisrakeo says that the facility handled 40.6 million passengers for the year to September 2018, well above its 30 million passengers handling capacity.
To alleviate that situation, AoT is planning to build a third terminal at Don Mueang that would be dedicated to international flights, which is targetted for completion in 2022. That will raise the airport's handling capacity to 40 million passengers.
It also wants to convert Terminal 1 for domestic use and upgrade Terminal 2 by 2024. Chaisrakeo says however that timelines on both those projects could change.