Airports of the world: Bangkok airport
With about 53 million passengers each year the Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is by far the busiest in Thailand. In Asia, it ranks just behind Beijing, Tokyo, Jakarta and Hong Kong at number five. In addition, it plays an important role in the transport of goods, handling approximately 1.3 million tons of air freight per year.
Check- in in the city centre
The Suvarnabhumi Airport, whose name literally means “golden land”, is located about 30 kilometres east of Bangkok which is home to about nine million people. Those who arrive will normally feel a little lost, however, to reach the city centre, you simply follow the crowds. The fastest way to get to the centre is with the express trains, which run every ten minutes, and take only 20 minutes to reach Makkasan station. For the return journey Makkasan station can be useful, due to the City Air Terminal, which allows passengers of most major airlines to check in for their flight ahead of time. However, those who prefer to travel by taxi or bus should be prepared for delays. A taxi ride to the city centre from the airport should take 30 minutes; however, it is not uncommon that the travel time will be more than doubled due to congestion.
Good things are worth waiting for
The Bangkok airport was opened in 2006, but its planning phase stretched over nearly 30 years. Already in the 1960s the first plans for a new international airport in Bangkok were developed. After the purchase of the land in 1973, it took another 20 years before the need for the new airport arose – due to a lack of expansion options at the existing Don Mueang airport – previously the largest airport in Bangkok. Construction finally started in January 2002. Despite the unsuitable soil conditions and location, near the Gulf of Thailand and only about two meters above sea level, the airport was built and ready to open after only four and a half years.
Landing permission for the A380
Currently at Bangkok airport there is construction work in progress, to expand the passenger and air freight capacity. After completion of the work, which is currently planned for 2015, the passenger capacity will be 100 million passengers annually and 6.4 million tons of air freight capacity. Today, the airport is used by 86 airlines, which connect it to the world with nearly 200 destinations. Some airlines, like Thai Airways, use the Airbus A380 on high-traffic routes such as on the non-stop flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok. The A380 is currently the largest mass-produced passenger aircraft, able to carry up to 853 passengers. Prior to 2007 the permission to take off and land the A380 required a runway to have a width of at least 60 meters. Both of Bangkok’s runways met this criterion, and have lengths of 4,000 and 3,700 metres. After 2007 the requirement was reduced to 45 metre wide runways.