New Don Muang Airport

Published first May, 2014

Re-opened Bangkok Airport could do better

Don Muang Airport
Don Muang Airport

Kan Air proposes to start daily scheduled flights from Koh Phangan Airport to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. This airport was closed when Suvarnabhumi was opened but re-opened a few years ago to cope with the congestion at the new airport.

Don Muang Airport (also spelt ‘Don Mueng’) was replaced by Suvarnabhumi because it was too small to deal with the rising numbers of tourists arriving in Thailand. The new airport was bigger and also closer to the center of Bangkok.

Although the walk down to passport control seems long and the food prices expensive, Suvarnabhumi for all its faults is a good international airport. It has a large capacity, it processes people into Thailand quickly, and best of all, it has a rail link connecting it with downtown Bangkok.

In contrast the newly opened Don Muang airport that currently hosts several major airlines such as Nok Air, Solar Air and Air Asia does not have the advantages of Suvarnabhumi. It doesn’t have a convenient rail link (there is one but not close and often the trains are 90 minutes apart), and it has less amenities and facilities. There is none of the clever zonal air-con or the same large selection of shops and restaurants.

Additionally the main food court is before passport control (when leaving the airport). A basic noodle dish costs 185 Thai Baht; on the street outside the airport it costs 35 Baht.

Finally, the check-in desks at the new Don Muang airport are often besieged with technical problems causing long queues.

It is hoped that Airports of Thailand (AOT) respond to the complaints made about Don Muang Airport and up-date the facilities, and lobby for a modern public transport link to the airport.

Further reading:

Construction Continues

Work on the new Koh Phangan airport progresses

In 2011 work began on the process of building Koh Phangan airport. Permission had been given but the engineers had difficulty finding the best location for the runway and airport buildings. A site in Chaloklum seemed also under consideration.

Now the site in the north-east of Koh Phangan between Thong Nai Pan and Than Sadet has been developed, and work is well advanced to prepare the land and start building. The budget for the project has been revealed via the Bangkok Post as being $22 million dollars. This is an ambitious move from a relatively small budget carrier. Kan Air has told the press that the airport will be finished in the second half of 2013. That gives them about 6 months to complete.

The plans are for a runway that is 1,100 meters long. Koh Samui runway is much bigger – 2,060 meters. The short length of the runway is due to the mountainous terrain. Kan Air will lease 2 turboprops that can hold 50 people to run 3 80-minute flights to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. Kan Air went into business in 2010 and has currently 1 Cessna that holds 12 people and goes between cities in the north. The hub for the carrier is Chiang Mai. Kan Air is hoping to move its hub to Bangkok’s newly booming Don Muang Airport and offer flights in the south of Thailand.

The future business health of Kan Air seems to have been staked on Koh Phangan Airport’s speedy completion and success as a travel hub.