Thailand Opens New Airport Touted As Regional Hub

Thailand's new international airport opened on Thursday, a major step in the country's plan to become a regional aviation hub.

Lufthansa flight LH 8442 was the first aircraft to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, while Nok Air flight SV984 was the first departure. Suvarnabhumi means "golden land" in Thai.

Air Force Cmdr. Chalit Pukpasuk admitted that there were some small problems on the first day.

"I want passengers to understand the difficulties on the first day. So far, there were just small problems that we can fix," Chalit said.

Suvarnabhumi, located in Samut Prakan province, about 25 kilometers east of downtown Bangkok, is designed to serve 45 million passengers a year.

Many visitors praised the new airport, which replaces Don Muang airport, but some complained that it is farther from the city than Don Muang.

Suvarnabhumi, which took 46 years to complete, is touted as becoming a regional hub of Asia that can compete with other airports such as Incheon airport in South Korea and Chek Lap Kok in Hong Kong.

The 92-year-old Don Muang airport will be used for military flights, charter flights and small aircraft.



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