By Pooky; 4/22/2012
Airports of Thailand (AoT) has recorded a +20.99% rise in international passenger traffic to about 5.02 million for the month of March. The figures cover AoT’s entire national airport network, including Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang in Bangkok as well as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Chiang Rai. Flagship gateway Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, the pride of Thaksin, recorded a rise of +7.13% in international passengers to 3.89 million in March. In the 2013 year to date, international passengers across AoT’s network numbered 14.50 million, representing growth of +19.34% over the same period last year. Thailand’s main Suvarnabhumi International Airport was ranked the world’s 6th best large airport in 2012 among 17 airports serving over 40 million global passengers yearly, moving up from its 7th position in the 2011 survey. The development and building of the Suvanabhumi airport was pushed hard by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin, when he was in power, against objections from mostly the elite establishment. Thaksin was kicked out by the 2006 coup, after the pro elite establishment, Yellow Shirts, destabilized Thailand with protest. One of the protest was to occupy and shut-down the freshly built and completed by Thaksin, Suvarnabhumi airport. Thailand’s Central Bank estimated a loss of US$3 to 5 billion from the closure. In objection the building of Suvanabhumi, those with the elite establishment, cited fear of corruption and over investments as the reason. Charges of corruption were subsequently bought, but the court have cleared some charges, such as with the baggage scanning device corruption allegations. Most neutral observer, says the elite establishment objection, was mainly because it was afraid Thaksin would get the credit, which would increase his popularity.