Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport (IATA: BKK, ICAO: VTBS), (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ;pronounced su-wan-na-poom), (pronounced: suwanapoom) is the international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand. After numerous delays, the airport opened for limited service on 15 September 2006, and opened for all commercial flights on 28 September.  The airport is the main hub for Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and a focus city for China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Air India, Emirates, and SriLankan Airlines.
The airport is located in Racha Thewa in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan Province, about 25 km east of Bangkok. The name Suvarnabhumi was chosen by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and refers to the ancient kingdom hypothesized to have been located somewhere in Southeast Asia. Designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, this airport has the world's tallest control tower (132.2 m), and the world's second largest single building and airport terminal (563,000 m²), just a little smaller than Hong Kong International Airport (570,000 m²) but larger than South Korea's Incheon International Airport (496,000 m²). The airport replaced the old Don Mueang International Airport which was the fourth busiest airport for passenger traffic in Asia in 2005 (behind Tokyo's Haneda Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport, and Hong Kong International Airport) as Bangkok's primary airport for all commercial airline flights.  It also inherited the IATA Airport Code BKK from Don Mueang after the older airport ceased commercial flights.
Months into its opening, issues such as congestion, construction quality, signage, provision of facilities, and soil subsidence continued to plague the airport, prompting calls to reopen Don Muang to allow for repairs to be conducted, especially from low-cost airlines. The Thai junta announced its intention to reopen Don Muang permanantly as a second International airport, despite objections to the idea from Airports of Thailand, the Civil Aviation Department, and domestic and international airlines. Expert opinions varied widely regarding the extent of Suvarnabhumi's problems as well as their root cause.
Land purchase, early construction
The plot of land occupied by the airport with an approximate area of 8,000 acres (20,000 rai, or 32.4 km²) was purchased in 1973, but the student uprising on October 14 of the same year was followed by the overthrowing the military government of Thanom Kittikachorn and the project was shelved. After a series of ups and downs, the "New Bangkok International Airport" company (NBIA) was formed in 1996. Due to political and economic instabilities, notably the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the civil construction began six years later in January 2002. The airport is located in a once low-lying marsh, formerly known as Nong Ngu Hao (Thai: หนองงูเห่า, lit. "Cobra Swamp"), which took about 5 years (1997 - 2001) to clear through land reclamation. In 2005, the construction supervision and management was transferred to the Airports of Thailand PLC, while the NBIA company was dissolved.
The airport was due to open in late 2005, but a series of budget overruns, construction flaws, political interference and allegations of corruption continues to plague the project. After much speculation, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced that the airport would be open by September 2006 at the latest. Symbolic first test flights involving two Thai Airways aircraft were held on September 29, 2005, a previously announced deadline for opening.
Airport tests, official opening
Full tests of the airport, with seats sold to the public, took place on July 3 and July 29, 2006. Six airlines Thai Airways International, Nok Air, Thai Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, PBAir and One-Two-GO used the airport as a base for 20 domestic flights.   The first international test flights were conducted on September 1, 2006. Two THAI's aircraft, B747-400 and A300-600, simultaneously departed the airport on 9.19am to Singapore and Hong Kong. On 3.50pm the same aircraft flew back and made concurrent touchdowns on runways 19L and 19R. These test flights demonstrated the readiness of the airport to handle heavy traffic.
On 15 September 2006, the airport started limited operations with Jetstar Asia Airways operating three flights daily to Singapore and Thai Airways International operating some domestic flights to Phitsanulok, Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani. Bangkok Airways moved on 21 September, AirAsia and Thai AirAsia followed suit on 25 September and on 26 September Nok Air moved to Suvarnabhumi Airport. During this initial phase, as well as in the previous tests, the airport used the temporary IATA code NBK.
Suvarnabhumi officially opened at 3:00am on September 28, 2006, taking over all flights from Don Mueang. The first flight to arrive was Lufthansa Cargo flight LH8442 from Mumbai at 3:05am.  The first commercial arrival was from Japan Airlines at 3:30am. The first passenger arrival was Aerosvit flight VV171 from Kiev at 4:30am , and the first cargo departure was Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV-984 to Riyadh at 5:00am.   Aerosvit also had the first passenger departure (VV172 to Kiev)  around 5:30am.
Many difficulties were recorded the first few days of the airport's operation. On the first day alone, sluggish luggage claims were rampant (the very first passenger arrival by Aerosvit took an hour for the luggage to start coming out, and some flight did not have their luggage coming out after four hours ), many flights were delayed (Thai Airlines claimed that 17 of 19 flights were delayed that day ), and there were also failures of the check-in system . Subsequent problems included the failure of the cargo computer system , and the departure boards displaying the wrong information, resulting in confused passengers (especially as unlike Don Muang, there were no "final calls" issued) .
Capacity and safety issues
In January 2007, Thai Airways announced a plan to move most of its domestic operations back to Don Muang International Airport due to overcrowding at the airport.
In January 2007, ruts were discovered in the taxiways and runways at Suvarnabhumi . Expert opinions have varied widely as to the root cause of the ruts. Airport authorities and airline representatives have maintained that the airport was still safe and resisted suggestions that the airport should be completely closed and all flights moved back to Don Muang.
On 27 January 2007, however, the Department of Civil Aviation declined to renew the airport's safety certificate, which expired the previous day. The ICAO requires that international airports hold aerodrome safety certificates, but Suvarnabhumi will continue to operate because the ICAO requirement has yet to be adopted as part of Thai law.
Three days later, the Ministry of Transport recommended temporarily reopening Don Muang while repair work on the runways at Suvarnabhumi proceeds. The recommendation is still subject to approval by the junta's Cabinet. Thai Airways said it would shift most of its domestic flights flights back, keeping flights with high international passenger connections such as Chiang Mai and Phuket at Suvarnabhumi. Bangkok Airways and One-Two-GO have similar plans. Thai AirAsia said it would not move unless it could shift both its international and domestic operations. Nok Air and PB Air were undecided.
However, a two-week investigation led by Tortrakul Yomnak, a chief engineer for Airports of Thailand, later found that the runway was safe, and that cracks could be repaired in as little as a few hours. At the beginning of the investigation, Tortrakul had warned that the airport might need to be closed for three years.
The military junta used allegedly shoddy construction at the airport as one of the justifications its overthrow of the government. Critics noted that junta-led investigations were unlikely to reveal an impartial picture of the airport's shortcomings. "Problems are normal for any new airport. In our case it's made more complex because everybody wants to run down the former prime minister," noted Sumet Jumsai, a leading Thai architect.
On 25 January 2007, due to work to repair cracks in the runways, incoming flights are delayed and several flights are diverted to U-Tapao International Airport for refuelling.
A junta-appointed panel of engineers assigned to inspect the airport noted that damage to the airport was "minute," and "common." According to a panel member, the problem with the runways and taxiways are ruts, not cracks in the asphalt as had previously been claimed. "This is a common type of damage. You see it in airports all over the United States," said Noppodol Phien-Wej, a panel-member. A spokesman for British Airways, also said that "everything is normal," and that "we haven't heard any complaints from the staff."
Costing an estimated 155 billion baht , the airport has 2 parallel runways (60 m wide, 4000 m and 3700 m long) and two parallel taxiways to accommodate simultaneous departures and arrivals. It has a total of 120 parking bays (51 with contact gates and 69 remote gates), with five of these capable of accommodating the Airbus A380. The main passenger terminal building, with a capacity of handling 76 flight operations per hour, co-locates the international and domestic terminals, though assigning them to different parts of the concourse. In the initial phase of construction, it will be capable of handling 45 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of cargo per year. Above the future underground rail link station and in front of the passenger terminal building is a 600-room hotel operated by Accor Group under the Novotel brand. Between the airport hotel and the terminal building are the two 5-storey car parks with a combined capacity of 5,000 cars.
Long-term plans for four runways flanking two main terminals and two satellite buildings with a combined capacity capable of handling up to 100 million passengers and 6.4 million tonnes of cargo a year are on the drawing board. The second phase of airport expansion involving the construction of a satellite building south of the main terminal is expected to begin 3 to 5 years after the completion of the first main terminal
Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), the owner of Suvarnabhumi Airport, announced on 21 July 2006 that a separate terminal for low-cost airlines will be built at the airport at a cost of 600 million baht (15.8 million dollars). The budget terminal will be located near Concourse A of the main terminal. It is capable of handling 15 million passengers per year. Its operating concept will be modeled after the LCC terminals of Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. As Suvarnabhumi Airport is current operating at near capacity, the idea of re-opening Don Mueang International Airport for low-cost airlines is being considered to help ease the traffic at Suvarnabhumi Airport. 
Despite claims from the owner of the airport that the new passenger terminal building is the world's largest at 563,000 m², Hong Kong International Airport still stays number one with 570,000 m², as the airport completed expanding the existing terminal in 2004 from 550,000 m² to make room for the greatly expanded shopping mall, SkyMart, at the East Hall area. The control tower, however, is the tallest in the world at 132.2m, topping Kuala Lumpur's by about 2 meters.
Airlines and destinations
International Airlines (scheduled flights)
Aerosvit Airlines (Kiev-Boryspil)
AirAsia (Kuala Lumpur)
Thai AirAsia (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City [begins March, 2007], Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Macau, Penang, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Xiamen, Yangon)
Air Astana (Almaty)
Air Austral (Saint Denis de la Reunion)
Air Bagan (Yangon)
Air China (Beijing, Chengdu)
Air France (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Paris-Charles de Gualle)
Air India (Delhi, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai-Pudong)
Air Koryo (Pyongyang)
Air Macau (Macau)
Air Madagascar (Antananarivo)
All Nippon Airways (Tokyo-Narita)
Asiana Airlines (Seoul-Incheon)
Austrian Airlines (Vienna)
Bangkok Airways (Fukuoka, Guilin, Hangzhou, Hiroshima, Ho Chi Minh City [begins March 1, 2007], Hong Kong, Jinghong, Luang Prabang, Malé, Phnom Penh, Shenzhen, Siem Reap, Singapore, Xian, Yangon, Zhengzhou)
Siem Reap Airways (Siem Reap)
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka, Singapore)
Blue Panorama Airlines (Milan-Malpensa)
British Airways (London-Heathrow, Sydney)
Cebu Pacific (Manila)
China Airlines (Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Kaoshiung, Rome-Fiumicino, Taipei-Taoyuan)
Cathay Pacific (Colombo, Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Karachi, Singapore)
China Eastern Airlines (Kunming, Shanghai-Pudong)
China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou, Shantou)
Condor Airlines (Frankfurt, Munich)
Druk Air (Paro, Dhaka, Kolkata, Gaya)
EgyptAir (Beijing, Cairo)
El Al (Tel Aviv)
Emirates (Dubai, Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland)
Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa, Guangzhou, Hong Kong)
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi)
EVA Air (Amsterdam, London-Heathrow, Taipei-Taoyuan, Vienna)
Uni Air (Kaoshiung)
Finnair (Helsinki, Hong Kong, Singapore)[Service to Hong Kong and Singapore ends May 2007] 
Garuda Indonesia (Jakarta)
GMG Airlines (Dhaka, Chittagong)
Gulf Air (Bahrain, Dubai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Muscat)
Hainan Airlines (Haikou)
Indian Airlines (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Yangon)
Israir (Tel Aviv)
Japan Airlines (Nagoya-Centrair, Osaka-Kansai, Tokyo-Narita)
Jet Airways (Delhi, Kolkata)
Jetstar Asia Airways (Singapore)
Kenya Airways (Nairobi, Hong Kong)
Kampuchea Airlines (Phnom Penh)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam, Taipei-Taoyuan)
Korean Air (Busan, Daegu, Seoul-Incheon)
Kuwait Airways (Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Manila)
Lao Airlines (Luang Prabang, Vientiane)
LTU International (Düsseldorf, Munich)
Lufthansa (Frankfurt, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur)
Mahan Air (Tehran-Imam Khomeini)
Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur)
Malév Hungarian Airlines (Budapest)
Myanmar Airways International (Yangon)
Northwest Airlines (San Francisco, Tokyo-Narita)
Orient Thai Airlines, One-Two-GO (Hong Kong, Seoul-Incheon)
Pakistan International Airlines (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore)
Philippine Airlines (Manila)
Phuket Air (Yangon)
PMTair (Phnom Penh)
President Airlines (Phnom Penh)
Qantas (London-Heathrow, Sydney)
Jetstar Airways (Melbourne)
Qatar Airways (Doha)
Royal Brunei Airlines (Bandar Seri Begawan, Frankfurt)
Royal Jordanian (Amman)
Royal Nepal Airlines (Kathmandu)
Royal Phnom Penh Airways (Phnom Penh)
S7 Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk)
Scandinavian Airlines System (Copenhagen)
Shanghai Airlines (Shanghai-Pudong)
Singapore Airlines (Osaka-Kansai, Singapore, Tokyo-Narita)
SriLankan Airlines (Beijing, Colombo, Hong Kong)
Swiss International Air Lines (Singapore, Zürich)
Thai Airways International (Athens, Auckland, Bandar Seri Begawan, Bangalore, Beijing, Brisbane, Busan, Chengdu, Chennai, Chittagong, Colombo, Copenhagen, Delhi, Denpasar, Dhaka, Dubai, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Gaya, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kathmandu, Karachi, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Kuwait, Lahore, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manila, Melbourne, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Domodedovo, Mumbai, Munich, Muscat, Nagoya-Centrair, New York-JFK, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Penang, Perth, Phnom Penh, Rome-Fiumicino, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Stockholm-Arlanda, Sydney, Taipei-Taoyuan, Tokyo-Narita, Varanasi, Vientianne, Xiamen, Yangon, Zürich)
Nok Air (Bangalore)
Tiger Airways (Singapore)
Transaero (Moscow-Domodedovo, Saint Petersburg)
Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk)
Turkmenistan Airlines (Ashkabad)
United Airlines (San Francisco, Tokyo-Narita)
Uzbekistan Airways (Tashkent)
Vietnam Airlines (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City)
Vladivostok Avia (Seoul-Incheon, Vladivostok)
Xiamen Airlines (Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen)
International Airlines (charter flights)
Air Finland (Helsinki)
MyTravel Airways (Göteborg-Landvetter, Oslo)
TUIfly Nordic (Stockholm-Arlanda)
Thai AirAsia (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Naratiwat, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani)
Bangkok Airways (Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Krabi, Phuket, Sukhothai, Trat, Utapao-Rayong)
Orient Thai Airlines
One-Two-GO (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Surat Thani))
PBAir (Buriram, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon)
SGA Airlines (Hua Hin)
Thai Airways International (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, HatYai, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Si Thamarat, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Surat Thani, Trang, Ubon Ratchatani, Udon Thani)
Nok Air (Chaing Mai, Hat Yai, Loei, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Si Thanarat, Phuket, Trang, Udon Thani)
Air France Cargo
Air Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Cargo
China Airlines Cargo
EVA Air Cargo
Japan Airlines Cargo
Korean Air Cargo
Kuzu Airlines Cargo
Malaysia Airlines Kargo
Nippon Cargo Airlines
Saudi Arabain Cargo Airlines
Shanghai Airlines Cargo
Singapore Airlines Cargo
United Parcel Service
The construction of the City Airport Terminal in Makkasan and a 28.6 km high-speed rail link to the new airport started in July 2005 and are planned for completion in November 2007, although this deadline, too, seems unlikely to be met. The airport express, informally known as the Pink Line and operated jointly with SRT's planned Red Line commuter service, will connect with the BTS Sukhumvit Line (Green Line, Route 1) and MRT Blue Line at Phaya Thai and Phetchaburi stations respectively, offering airport-bound passengers a fast 15-minute limited stop journey from the city.
Meanwhile, SRT provides a suburban commuter train service between Hua Takhe (the nearest station to Suvarnabhumi on the East line) and the northern suburban city of Rangsit via downtown Bangkok and the old Don Mueang Airport. The train also connects with BTS and MRT at Phaya Thai and Phetchaburi stations respectively. Passengers pay a flat fare of Bt30. A shuttle bus service linking the airport with Hua Takhe railway station is provided by BMTA for Bt15. The train service is currently not as popular as the bus service because the fact that it requires a shuttle bus connection. The service will be stopped when the Airport Express Link is completed
The airport operates 4 airport express bus routes to downtown Bangkok. The buses are air-conditioned with ample luggage space. The fare is 150 baht for the entire route. Passengers can get on the bus on the first floor of the terminal. The four routes are as follows:
AE1 Suvarnabhumi-Silom Rd. (by expressway)
AE2 Suvarnabhumi-Khao San Rd.(by expressway)
AE3 Suvarnabhumi-Central World via Sukhumvit Rd.
AE4 Suvarnabhumi-Hua Lamphong (central Bangkok Railway Station) via Victory Monument(by expressway)
Additionally, 12 city bus routes operated by Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) serve the airport's dedicated bus terminal. City buses offer a cheaper alternative of Bt35 flat fare, compared with the airport express bus, but passengers must take a shuttle bus to the public transportation center's bus terminal before they can board the bus. The 12 routes are as follows:
549 Suvarnabhumi-Minburi-Bangkapi via Seri Thai Rd.
550 Suvarnabhumi-Happy Land
551 Suvarnabhumi-Victory Monument (by expressway)
552 Suvarnabhumi-Khlong Toei (Customs Dept.) via Onnut BTS station
552A Suvarnabhumi-Samut Prakarn (Praeksa Garage)
553 Suvarnabhumi-Samut Prakarn (Crocodile Farm Garage)
554 Suvarnabhumi-Rangsit via Don Mueang and Ram Indra Rd. (by expressway)
555 Suvarnabhumi-Rangsit via Don Mueang and Central Plaza LadPhrao (by expressway)
556 Suvarnabhumi-Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal via Democracy Monument and Khaosan Rd.(by expressway)
557 Suvarnabhumi-Wong Wian Yai (The Great Circle)
558 Suvarnabhumi-Central Plaza Rama II
559 Suvarnabhumi-Future Park Rangsit via Dream World (by expressway)
There are also direct long-distance services to Pattaya and Nong Khai operated by the Transport Company.
All of the city buses and inter-city buses are air-conditioned.
Metered taxis are available outside the exit on the 1st floor. There is a 50 baht surcharge on the meter. The trips to the city will cost 300 400 baht (plus highway tolls about 60 baht) and take 40 60 min. depending on traffic. Additionally, flat-fare limousine are available at Arrivals Level (2nd floor). Two limousine service are provided from THAI and the Airport of Thailand (AOT).
The airport has 5 main access routes. Among these the most convenient route is via the Bangkok-Chon Buri Motorway (Highway No. 7).
International travellers departing the airport must pay a 500 baht tax levied by the airport operator, Airports of Thailand. The tax is not included in the price of airline tickets. It is paid to airport staff before queuing for immigration processing. On February 1, 2007, the international departure tax will be raised to 700 baht.  From Feb 1, 2007 the 700 baht departure tax is now included in the flight ticket's price.
List of airports in Thailand
Don Mueang International Airport
Nakhon Suvarnabhumi Province
List of Destinations to/from all Thailand airports
^ USA Today, "Bangkok's new airport opens to first commercial flights", September 15, 2006.
^ "New airport operations costly to low-cost carriers", MCOT, July 16, 2006 (retrieved July 17, 2006).
^ Some flight services will likely return the Don Muang Airport, The Nation, January 29, 2007.
^ Don Muang's fate yet to be settled
^ The Nation, Making the best out of airport debacle, 8 February 2007
^ Thailand to reopen old airport, giving Bangkok two hubs, Channel NewsAsia, 6 February 2007
^ The Nation, Engineers unable to agree on root cause of airport cracks, 10 February 2007
^ ThaiDay, "THAI discounts tickets for historic test flights", July 1, 2006.
^ "PM Thaksin says Suvarnabhumi Airport ready in two months", MCOT, July 29, 2006.
^ A Rough Takeoff for Bangkok's New Airport, TIME, January 25, 2007
^ The Nation, Engineers unable to agree on root cause of airport cracks, 10 February 2007
^ New airport's east runway to close for repairs, return to Don Muang mooted, Thai News Agency, MCOT, January 27, 2007.
^ "Bangkok airport officially unsafe", CNN, 2007-01-27
^ Use Don Muang during repairs: 2 airlines, The Nation, January 27, 2007.
^ Move to use 2 aiports gets mixed reception, The Nation, January 31, 2007.
^ Bangkok Post, Suvarnabhumi runway declared safe, 12 February 2007
^ International Herald Tribune, Thailand's airport imbroglio grows, 2 February 2007
^ Asian Times Online, Cracks appear in Thai aviation-hub hopes, 7 February 2007
^ Some airlines afraid to use new airport, The Nation, January 26, 2007.
^ Bangkok Post, Suvarnabhumi: No cracks, minor damage, 2 February 2007
^ Nation staff, August 29, 2006."Airport fees to go up", The Nation (retrieved on September 2, 2006)
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