Saturday, April 23, 2011
Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ, pronounced [sùwannápʰūːm]) (IATA: BKK, ICAO: VTBS) (meaning 'Golden Land' (Sanskrit)), also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport, is an international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand. It was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September. The airport is currently the main hub for Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Orient Thai Airlines, Thai AirAsia and will be a hub for the new Thai Tiger Airways.
The airport is located in Racha Thewa in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan Province, about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of downtown Bangkok. The name Suvarnabhumi was chosen by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and refers to the golden kingdom hypothesised to have been located somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Planning of a second international airport for Bangkok started in the early 1960s. The process was slow from the start: as early as 1968, critics were already charging that the project was "five to seven years" behind the main schedule.
The 8,000-acre (32 km2) plot of land occupied by the airport was purchased in 1973, but the student-led protests on 14 October that year led the overthrow of the military government of Prime Minister 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 by the government of Thaksin Shinawatra. The airport is located in a once low-lying marsh, formerly known as Nong Ngu Hao (Thai: หนองงูเห่า, lit. "Cobra Swamp"), which took 5 years (1997–2001) to clear make a land reclamation. In 2005, the construction supervision and management was transferred to the Airports of Thailand PLC, while the NBIA company was dissolved.