Thai PM considers turning air force base into commercial airport

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has been approached by provincial authorities in Nakhon Ratchasima to convert the local air force base into a commercial airport. The appeal was made during a meeting yesterday, March 24, to foster business growth and encourage tourism in the province, according to deputy spokesperson Kenika Ounjit.

The authorities are requesting the private sector be allowed to use Wing 1 of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) for commercial flights. The prime minister has assigned Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit with the task of assessing the viability of the proposal before a final decision is made.

From 1986 to 1997, commercial flights were operated from the old airport located on the premises of Wing 1. The region now relies on Nakhon Ratchasima Airport, managed by the Department of Airports, for its air travel needs. However, the airport currently lacks commercial flights, as confirmed by a search by the Bangkok Post.

Previously, Nok Air provided flights from Bangkok and Chiang Mai to the province. The service was discontinued once it was deemed unprofitable. However, it’s reported that the budget airline is interested in resuming its service to Nakhon Ratchasima, provided they can utilise the old airport at Wing 1.

Nakhon Ratchasima Airport is located about 25 kilometres from the city centre in the Chalerm Phrakiat district. In contrast, Wing 1, situated in the Mueang district, is much closer to the city. Currently, the nearest operational airport to Nakhon Ratchasima is in Buriram. This proposal, if approved, could provide a much-needed boost to the local economy and tourist industry, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, plans are underway for a new airport construction in Phayao, a province in northern Thailand. The project, expected to cost approximately 2 billion baht, is part of a broader initiative to transform Phayao into a primary tourist destination. Thailand Prime Minister Srettha, along with his delegates scouted potential sites last week within the regions of tambon Don Si Chum and tambon Baan Tham in the Dok Kham Tai district.

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