Suvarnabhumi Airport

suvarnabhumi airport at night

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Suvarnabhumi (ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ in Thai) Airport has been under development for as long as several decades, without much progress. However, in the last 5 years this new airport project has received a new boost from Thailand's government and it seems that Suvarnabhumi Airport will actually open on 28 September 2006 (2549 according to the Thai Calendar).

We will keep you posted on the progress and list all relevant information after the move from Don Muang Airport to the Suvarnabhumi airport has been completed.

Check back regularly for the latest information.

New meet & greet with fast track immigration service at Suvarnabhumi airport

Although the service had been available for a while now, it was never properly introduced to the world or current limousine customers, so here we go: The Bangkok Airport Limousine company Siam Resorts Limousines now offer the most affordable meet & greet and fast track immigration service at Bangkok Airport. For as little as 1000 baht you can skip all the long immigration counter queues and be met by a lovely airport hostess right at the gate. She will assist with luggage and the filling of form, but also ensure that your limousine pulls up in front of Suvaranbhumi's arrival hall, the minute you walk out of the door. Visit the meet and greet with fast track service website to read all about it.

a new busline to Koh Chang

Per 1 December 2009, the Suvarnabhumi Burapha Bus Comany started carrying passengers from the Bangkok Airport Bus Terminal direct and non-stop to the paradise island Koh Chang. Previously, visitors would have to take a bus from the airport bus terminal to one of the piers in Laem Ngop and carry their luggage and other belongings over a hot concrete pier and up and down steep small stairs on the ferries. The Suvarnabhumi <-> Koh Chang bus number 392 ensures that you can now get to the island more comfortably and well air-conditioned.

Tickets are 308 baht / pers one way, which includes the transfer on the ferry and all taxes. Initially the bus from Suvaranbhumi international Airport in Bangkok departs at 07:30 and returns at 13:30 from the Klong Son Area on Koh Chang to Suvarnabhumi airport, but more departures will be added over the next 3 months. Travel time is about 5 1/2 hours total.

More information is available on the Suvarnabhumi <-> Koh Chang bus website.

Even more in a hurry? Try the new Lonely Beach Express shared minibus service! The fast minivans pick up passengers right for door number 8 on the ground floor of the arrival hall of Suvarnabhumi International Airport and will carry passengers non-stop to Lonely Beach on Koh Chang. The fare is only 308 baht / pers / way and that even includes the tickets for the ferry. Unfortunately it will not be possible to reserve seats on these minibuses, but outside of the peak season, it's unlikely that they will be full. Just head down to the ticket booth right next to door number 8 on the ground floor of Bangkok Airport and get your tickets there.

Airport Hotels near Bangkok Airport?

Many people ask us if we can recommend any good Airport Hotels nearby Suvarnabhumi airport. As it turns out, our Suvarnabhumi Airport Limousines partner has already made such a page, so please visit their Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotels page. If you are heading from the airport to Koh Chang and your party consists of more than 3 persons, you may want to consider a private Minibus

The First day...

The new $3.9 billion Suvarnabhumi international airport opened early Thursday as most citizens were asleep, with little hoopla - and none at all from the project's final backer, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a coup.

"We are 75 per cent satisfied," said Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) President Chotisak Asataviriya. "There were some minor problems that have upset us."

"It looks really nice and checking in was very smooth," said Ron Kirschnick, an American businessman who will not miss the tatty arrival halls of Don Muang, mothballed after its final arrival on Wednesday evening. "Overall, I'd give it a nine or 10 out of 10," he said.

Among the problems were computer crashes at several checkin counters, leaky roofs and delays in getting baggage from the airplanes to the departure terminal, which Chotisak in part blamed on torrential rains Thursday morning.

And of course there were the terminally confused, pun intended.

"I don't have any information," said one man who showed up at the old airport at Don Muang on Thursday morning for a flight. "I didn't know what happened," the unidentified befuddled passenger told iTV.

Teething problems with the baggage handling system led to some delays.

"It appears there weren't enough carts to carry the luggage from the plane," said Hemant Chattopadhyay, an IT professional from Bangalore in India, who had to wait two hours before being reunited with his bags.

Others complained about a lack of signs to the baggage halls. "The signs weren't very clear and so we had some problems finding the baggage hall and kept on getting lost. Eventually they had to let us through some secret door," said a 19-year-old South African backpacker, Gerald Neves.

"Still, they were all very friendly and we got an unofficial tour of the place," he shrugged.

Hans-Joachim Klohs, an operations planning expert from Munich Airport International, which is a consultant for the Suvarnabhumi project, was mostly satisfied.

"In the beginning we had some problems with the baggage handling because some of the equipment had not arrived yet from Don Muang," he said around midday. "But overall things went pretty well, although we need to wait to see how it goes at peak hour this evening."

The 206 passengers on the first commercial flight landing at Suvarnabhumi -- Aeroswit flight VV 171 from Kiev, in the Ukraine-- had to wait more than one hour to collect their baggage from the new automated baggage handling machines.

"The delay was caused by the delay of moving Thai Airways ground handling equipment from the old airport to the new one," said Mr Chotisak. "It's just a minor error, and it will be the only one.

"We will never let this happen again," he insisted.

But it wasn't the only one, of course.

At Thai Airways International check-in counters, the computers crashed before the first flights out. Airline workers were prepared, and issued handwritten boarding passes and baggage claim tags.

This caused long lines. But passengers seemed prepared for inevitable first-day glitches, on a day when around 800 flights will land and take off.

One passenger said exactly that: "Today is the first day, so we don't expect everything to go well," said Paul Millar, a 46-year-old British man who works in Bangkok.

"Fortunately we arrived early just in case," he said.

The airport opened with little official fanfare, but a staff celebration, with the arrival of Lufthansa cargo flight LH 8442 from Frankfurt via Mumbai at 3:02 am Thursday (2002 GMT Wednesday). The touchdown was confirmed by a control tower official.

The smooth landing of the first official flight sparked cheering and celebration among ground staff and technicians in the control tower, according to airplane captain Stephan Mack, who has been flying to Bangkok for more than 20 years.

``It's a big improvement,'' Mack said in an interview at Suvarnabhumi today. ``You should see the lights from up there, it's like a festival the way it's lit.''

The new airport, an airy and futuristic structure designed by German architect Helmut Jahn, features an oval-shaped concourse, energy-efficient temperature control systems, and several superlatives in airport construction.

Thai authorities boast it has the world's largest terminal building under one continuous roof at more than 560,000 square metres (138 acres). The 132-metre (433 feet) control tower is the world's tallest. Overall, the airport covers 132 sq km, (20,000 rai, 8,000 acres).

The new airport can handle the Airbus A-380, the world's biggest commercial plane, on its two four-kilometre (2.5-mile) runways, although the plane itself is not yet even certified for commercial flights.

More than 800 flights carrying 120,000 passengers were to pass through the airport on its first day.

Moving the stair trolleys, ramp buses and about one million other pieces of equipment from one airport to the other required a huge logistical effort and about 1,000 trucks clogged up Bangkok's roads Wednesday and overnight. Motorists were given special traffic warnings and urged to stay off roads and expressways.

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