Thailand waives fees to attract budget carriers to new airport

BANGKOK, June 6, 2006 (AFP) – Thailand is offering to waive landing fees at Bangkok’s new international airport to attract low-cost airlines to the facility which is expected to open in late September, officials said Tuesday.

Thailand’s civil aviation chief Chaisak Angsuwan said budget carriers could begin running test flights with some passengers at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport as early as next month, before the official opening in late September.

“We are offering incentives for those to start flying to the new airport in July,” he told AFP.

Thai aviation authorities certified the airport as ready for commercial traffic on May 25 but major international carriers have said they would need at least six months to complete the move from the existing Don Muang airport.

Chaisak said the authorities hoped budget carriers would be able to move more quickly since they tend to be smaller companies with fewer logistical hurdles.

Thailand wants to move all commercial flights to Suvarnabhumi while using the old airport for military and charter services.
Suvarnabhumi Airport, whose name means “golden land”, has been in the works for more than 40 years but construction delays and claims of graft have repeatedl