Thailand’s air transport market continues to suffer from mounting political turmoil in the capital city Bangkok. Widely known as “Shutdown Bangkok,” anti-government protests have closed major road intersections throughout the city, including key routes to both Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
After 12 long years of nothing promising for harmonizing Southeast Asian trade relations, there was a surprise development in the closing days of 2013 when a trade agreement was finally struck in Bali. Not glamorous, and focused largely on streamlining mundane processes that can impede cargo as it travels across borders, the agreement nevertheless holds considerably promise in terms of the growth of air travel and cargo.
Bangkok FBO MJets hopes that operations at Don Mueang Airport could resume by early February, following serious flooding that has closed it since late October. According to MJets, the airport, has been dry since early December and clean up work has been under way for several weeks at the MJets FBO. It may take until May to get all repairs complete. During the flooding crisis, the company has been able to provide handling for aircraft using Utapao Airport in Pattaya, some 100 miles southeast of the city.
Flood waters are subsiding at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport, but it could be another two months until the business aviation gateway is ready to reopen, according to Airports of Thailand. Meanwhile, local business aviation services group MJets is about to start repair work to its FBO at the airport.
Despite the closure of Bangkok Don Mueang Airport due to flooding, Thai charter firm MJets is still open for business. The company repositioned its aircraft fleet from Don Mueang some 100 miles southeast to Utapao Airport in Pattaya, where there are immigration services, fueling, MJets technical support and catering.
Business aviation activity is picking up in Thailand, with the Southeast Asian country enjoying a period of relative political stability after the recent general election. According to Bangkok-based bizav services group MJets, traffic levels at the capital’s Don Mueang Airport are about 20 percent higher than in 2010, with its FBO handling an average of 50 movements each month.
MJets, the sole handling provider for business aircraft at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport, is seeing a recovery in traffic volumes following the severe disruption to Thailand’s economy during the political unrest in May and June. Between March 16, when the company’s five-year handling license began, and the end of July, the new MJets FBO handled barely 150 aircraft, with the number dropping by 60 percent, to around 20 per month in May and June.
Leading flight planning and handling groups have abandoned Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport after Airports of Thailand (AOT) awarded exclusive handling rights for business aircraft operations to local charter operator MJets. They say they have been compelled to establish alternative handling operations at the Thai capital’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport over concerns about the new handling operation at Don Mueang.
Flight planning and handling groups have abandoned Bangkok Don Mueang Airport after Airports of Thailand (AOT) awarded exclusive handling rights for business aircraft operations to local charter operator MJets. They say they have been compelled to establish alternative handling operations at the Thai capital’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport amid concerns about the new handling operation at Don Mueang.
After a week’s closure due to an occupation by opponents of the then government, operations resumed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International and Don Muang airports on December 4. But it remains to be seen whether the resulting loss of confidence in Thailand’s political stability will lead to a decline in the amount of business aviation traffic it receives.
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