ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂDon Mueang named Fastest-Growing Airport
Discovering Thailand's many natural and cultural treasures has never been easier, with the number of domestic routes available in the Kingdom rising thanks to high demand from travellers. While Suvarnabhumi Airport, the national gateway to the Kingdom, is the hub for national carrier Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways, smaller airports like Don Mueang are becoming ever more popular with visitors staying within the country's borders.
According to figures released recently by the Airports Council International, Don Mueang is the fastest-growing airport in the Asia-Pacific region. Don Mueang, which is also known as DMK, recorded a 46.7 percent spike in passenger traffic in January this year. In 2014, the airport registered a 30.8 percent growth in the number of passengers compared with the year before, driven largely by surging traffic from low-cost airlines.
According to Songsak Tongtang, general manager of Don Mueang, the airport'spassenger footfall is expected to increase by 31.8 percent for the whole of 2015. The airport is now served by a total of 15 international airlines, providing scheduled flights that connect 24 Thai cities and 33 destinations across 14 countries.
To cope with the growing demand for domestic flights across the Kingdom, some budget carriers - including the Thai arm of low-cost carrier Air Asia (TAA) â€" are increasing their current set of route maps in order to accommodate more passengers. Santisuk Klongchaiya, TAA's director of commercial operations, announced last month that TAA intends to fly to all airports across the Kingdom.
The expansion of Thailand's transport infrastructure comes as music to the ears of overseas visitors looking to explore the corners of the Kingdom, from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the idyllic islands of the South. With an increasing number of internal flights to holiday hotspots like Phuket and Koh Samui, there is no longer the need for travellers to undertake long bus or train journeys to reach their favoured holiday destinations.
The increasing availability of flights also means that tourists do not have to miss out on any of Thailand's treasures during the course of their vacation. With each of Thailand's top destinations just a short flight away, travellers can make the most of tropical hotspots in Southern Thailand like Samui and Phuket (both approximately an hour flight from the capital) in the same vacation as a cultural break in the northern city of Chiang Mai, for example.
However, it is not only Thailand's network of domestic flights that visitors will be able to utilise, as recent reports have pointed towards the development of high speed rail links across the country. On a recent visit to Japan, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said that he would like to see railway links in the Kingdom based on Japan's super-fast bullet trains.
I would like to see it happen for tourist destinations like Pattaya and Hua Hn using funding from the state and private sector, Chan-Ocha was quoted as saying to the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Construction of Thailand's new rail project is scheduled to start in September this year.
by MAX VEE