Passenger traffic through Thailand’s six main airports including Suvarnabhumi surged about 18% year-on-year in the first six months, driven by stronger travel demand created partly by budget carriers.

Aggregate numbers of passengers passing through the airports operated by state-controlled Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) reached 43.7 million versus 37 million recorded in the same period last year.

Aircraft movements jumped by 16% in the period to 282,102, AoT data show.

But air freight tonnage fell by 11.2% to 668,988 tonnes, mirroring weak global cargo demand, industry executives said.

Reflecting Thailand’s rising reputation as a preferred tourism destination, international passenger numbers increased by 19.4% in the period to 27.6 million.

Domestic passenger numbers rose by 15.6% to 16.1 million, spurred especially by no-frills airlines.

International take-offs and landings soared by 17% to 158,635, while those for domestic grew more slowly at 14.6% to 123,467.

Passenger traffic through the country’s hub airport of Suvarnabhumi declined by 6.31% year-on-year in the first half to 25.7 million due mainly to the major discount airlines of Thai AirAsia and Nok Air moving their bases to Bangkok’s Don Mueang last year.

Passenger volume at Don Mueang rocketed by 572% to 7.95 million in the first half.

But international passenger volume at Suvarnabhumi grew by 5.24% to 1.27 million, whereas its domestic tally plunged 38.7% to 4.41 million.

Suvarnabhumi’s total flight volume dropped by 13.4% to 144,378 – 114,080 international (down by 1.03%) and 30,298 domestic (down by 41.2%).

In comparison, Don Mueang’s aircraft movements soared 299% in the first half to 69,159.

The fall in traffic at Suvarnabhumi relieved congestion there, but it is still operating beyond its annual capacity.

(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Tags: thailand
Photo Credit: The airport garden at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand. Harald Hoyer / Flickr