Airports of Thailand Public Company is accelerating the development of Chiang Mai International Airport in Chiang Mai province to accommodate the growing number of passengers. Starting from March 2014, the airport will extend its operating hours around the clock, rather than 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
President of Airports of Thailand Makin Petplai said that Chiang Mai International Airport handled 5.4 million passengers in 2013, an increase of 21 percent over the previous year. In developing the airport, a large aircraft stand will be built, together with four smaller aircraft stands.
There are currently 15 aircraft stands at Chiang Mai International Airport, which accommodate 20,000 passengers a day on average. It is expected that seven million passengers will pass through the airport in 2014. The number of charter flights from China, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei to Chiang Mai International Airport is also on the rise.
The international arrival hall and domestic departure hall will be expanded, as well. An area at the parking lot will be developed as an OTOP center. OTOP stands for the “One Tambon, One Product” program. Chiang Mai is recognized as the OTOP center in northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai International Airport has been named one of the five best airports in the world, in the category of airports with passengers under five million. Since it is welcoming more passengers, the airport will try to maintain its ranking on the list of the world’s top ten airports, with annual traffic of between 5 and 15 million passengers in 2014.
Chiang Mai International Airport is one of the five international airports under the supervision of Airports of Thailand. As it is the major gateway to the scenic beauty and rich culture of northern Thailand, it plays an important role in promoting travel and tourism throughout the northern region.
The airport now accommodates 110-120 flights a day. During the tourism season, the number will increase to 130. With the ASEAN Community on the horizon, Chiang Mai International Airport is likely to accommodate more passengers. The province has set up a working group to study a project to build its second airport to cope with the expected growing number of visitors.
Airports of Thailand recently held the first public forum to sound out public opinion on a master plan to construct the new Chiang Mai airport, which is expected to cover an area of 1,200 acres.
Recognized as a regional aviation hub for the Greater Mekong Subregion, Chiang Mai is now a popular long-stay destination, a medical tourism center, and an education hub. It is rich in culture and traditions and boasts numerous tourist attractions that have become a magnet for both local and international visitors.