What is Thailand's premier international air travel gateway?
SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT: GATEWAY TO A GOLDEN LAND
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand’s premier international air travel gateway and a regional center for aviation, links all aspects of air travel and transport. It also supports the country’s travel and tourism development, as befits its auspicious name, “Suvarnabhumi”, (Golden Land), which was bestowed upon it by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Suvarnabhumi Airport was built on 3,100 hectares of land in the Bang Phli District of Samut Prakan Province, about 25 kilometres east of Bangkok. The main access road is an elevated 10-lane highway connected to the outer ring road network. It also connects directly to the Bangkok-Chon Buri (Pattaya) Motorway. The beach resort of Pattaya is an hour and a half’s drive away.
Designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, the airport has the world’s tallest control tower (132.2 metres), and the second largest single building as an airport terminal (563,000 square metres), slightly smaller than Hong Kong International Airport’s 570,000 square metres.
It replaces the old Don Muang International Airport which is only being used for select domestic travel and charter aircraft.
Built at an estimated cost 155 billion baht, Suvarnabhumi has two parallel runways and two parallel taxiways accommodating simultaneous departures and arrivals. Suharnabhumi has a total of 120 parking bays, five of them capable of handling the Airbus A380. The main passenger terminal building can handle 76 flight operations an hour adding up to 45 million passengers and three million tones of cargo per year.
Above the underground rail link station (scheduled to open in Fall 2009) and in front of the passenger terminal building is the 612-room Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, a member of the Accor Group. The Airport Hotel is a five-minute walk from the airport along a 300-metre underground walkway. The hotel has four restaurants, two bars, a swimming pool, business centre, fitness centre and health spa. Between the hotel and the terminal building are two five-storey car parks with a combined capacity for 5,000 cars.
Plans for additional runways and two terminals capable of handling up to 100 million passengers and 6.4 million tonnes of cargo a year are on the drawing board.
Rail networks: A 26.6-km high-speed rail link from the airport to the City Airport Terminal in Makkasan is currently being built, with November 2009 as its planned completion date. The City Airport Terminal network is connected to BTS Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Sukhumvit Line and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Blue Line at Phaya Thai and Phetchaburi stations. The total journey to the airport will take approximately 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) provides a suburban commuter train service between Hua Takhe, the nearest station to Suvarnabhumi on the East line, and the northern suburb of Rangsit through Bangkok and the old Don Muang Airport. A shuttle bus service linking the airport with Hua Takhe railway station is provided by the Bangkok Mass Trasit Authority (BMTA) for 15 baht. The train service is less popular than the bus service as it requires a shuttle bus connection, and it will be phased out when the Airport Express Link is completed.
Departure tax: International travelers departing the airport must no longer pay a departure tax levied by the airport operator, Airports of Thailand. The tax is now included in the price of airline tickets.
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