Chiang Mai Airport expansion plan moves ahead

Aerial view of Chiang Mai International Airport
Photo Credit: Supanut Arunoprayote CC By 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) has officially launched a 10-year development project for Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). The airport anticipates it will handle 20 million passengers per year by 2033. 

Top heavyweights of AOT and Chiang Mai airport officials gathered at Wintree City Resort in Chiang Mai City northern Thailand on August 24th to attend the launch. 

Chiang Mai Airport development plan


At the resorts, there were talks about its objectives and time frame for stakeholders and potential investors. Deputy Director of Chiang Mai International Airport, Sarayuth Jampa led the seminar session. 

The deputy leader stated that the Northern Thai airport had a maximum operating capacity of 8 million passengers per year. 

Source: The Nation Thailand

The airport’s annual growth in passenger before the pandemic averaged at 11% yearly. In 2019, the airport welcomed over 10 million passengers. This prompts CNX Airport to become AOT’s fourth largest (and busiest) airport in its portfolio. 

This sparks the idea of fast-tracking the airport’s development plan and even building a new airport after all, touted Thailand’s new Prime Minister. 

Steady increase in traffic


The airport Deputy Director also noted that CNX witnessed a steady increase in passenger traffic due to fierce competition among low-domestic airlines. This has inevitably exerted traffic growth and domestic tourism. 

Nevertheless, most of its foreign arrivals were Chinese tourists according to nationtv.com. Chinese tourists account for one of Thailand‘s largest inbound tourism. 

During the seminar, conference-goers learned that the executives of AOT had divided the expansion project of CNX airport into two phases. 

Phase One


This phase consists of feasibility studies and environmental impact assessment of the project, as well as construction and refurbishment of existing facilities. 

The construction is slated to take three years from 2026 to 2029, and will be opened to the public from 2030 and onwards. 

At the end of this phase, the airport expects to handle 16.5 million passengers per annum. 

Source: The Nation Thailand

Phase Two


The second phase will start from 2030 to 2033 and will expand the airport’s ability to handle 20 million passengers at the time of completion. 

This also means that by 2033, the airport will be able to accommodate 31 flights per hour, with the airport’s 38 parking bays. 

Moreover, at this phase, facilities will be newly built and/or refurbished which includes runways and taxiways.

Important facilities such as refuelling bays, domestic and international passenger terminals, office space for airlines and airport staff, parking areas, roads within the airport, an electrical substation, and a wastewater treatment facility will also be refurbished according to nationthailand.com

The project has kicked started with an environmental impact study, spearheaded by the TCMA Consortium. The consortium also reported its progress in the EIA and plans for more public hearing sessions. 

TCMA has re-asserted Chiang Mai’ers that the two phases of the airport’s development will not negatively impact nearby communities. 

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