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Cabinet approves new Suvarnabhumi airport runway

A Thai Airways International aircraft lands at Suvarnabhumi airport. (Post Today file photo)

The cabinet has conditionally approved a plan to add a new runway at Suvarnabhumi airport to ease air traffic congestion at the main gateway to Thailand.

Deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said on Wednesday the project proposed by the Transport Ministry had received the green light from the government -- on the condition that it passes a environmental and health impact assessment by the National Environment Board.

The cost of the planned third runway is estimated at 21 billion baht, including financial compensation for local residents who would be affected by the noise from planes taking off and landing.

Suvarnabhumi has two runways, one to the east of the terminal building and the other to the west. Together, they can handle 63 flights per hour -- but capacity is halved if one has to be closed for maintenance.

The new runway will be built parallel to the western runway. After construction is completed, the airport would be able to can service 94 flights every hour with all three runways in operation.

Lt Gen Werachon said the ministry expects construction to commence this year and finish in 2021.

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