Ministry of Transport-IATA Joint Aviation Industry Stakeholders Meeting discussed how to best equip Thailand for anticipated aviation sector boom.

Suvarnabhumi Airport

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for an aviation infrastructure masterplan to take priority in Thailand, following a meeting between government and aviation officials in Bangkok.

Chaired by Thailand’s Minister for Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the Joint Aviation Industry Stakeholders Meeting with IATA on June 14 discussed how to strengthen industry engagement to maximize the benefits of the anticipated growth of Thailand’s aviation sector.

Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Asia-Pacific said that the industry must work together with the Thai government to deal with the expected challenges of industry growth in the country, which is expected to be among the top 10 passenger markets in the world by 2036.

The top priority is to develop a cohesive aviation infrastructure masterplan for the airports in the greater Bangkok area—incorporating industry input will be key

“We had a very positive meeting with the Honorable Minister Termpittayapaisith and his team,” said Clifford. “It was recognized that a collaborative approach is needed to overcome the challenges of handling the anticipated growth of air travel to and through Thailand. 

“The top priority is to develop a cohesive aviation infrastructure masterplan for the airports in the greater Bangkok area—Don Mueang, Survarnabhumi and U-Tapao. Incorporating industry input will be key.”

The meeting resulted in the establishment of an Airport Consultative Committee (ACC), which will review and adjust existing masterplans while also taking into consideration other factors including the potential impact of high-speed rail and wider adoption of technology solutions. 

“The ACC is a proven partnership approach to address infrastructure and operational issues in light of the anticipated growth of Thailand’s aviation industry. Outcomes tend to be much stronger where there is effective consultation with the main users of the airport,” said Clifford.

Plans to address the soft tarmac at Suvarnabhumi Airport was also discussed, with Minister Termpittayapaisith calling it a ‘major concern’. He said the Thai government was ‘committed’ to working with IATA to address the issue instantly, which Clifford welcomed.

“Overall airlines are pleased to note AOT’s (Airports of Thailand) plans to address this longstanding issue. We welcome Minister Termpittayapaisith’s request to the various agencies to expedite the remedial works,” said IATA’s Regional Vice President for Asia-Pacific. 

The MOT-IATA Joint Aviation Industry Stakeholders will meet every quarter to review the progress of the key industry priorities identified. The next meeting is planned for the fourth quarter of 2018.