June 30--Passenger traffic through Thailand's main airports is expected to soar to over 100 million in 2016, or nearly 14 million more than last year.
The Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) on Friday came up with the projection against the backdrop of optimism over a post-coup rebound in air travel demand and tourism.
Regional integration under the Asean Economic Community late next year is also expected to propel passenger traffic through the six airports operated by the state-controlled company.
The landmark figures also reflect the robust 6.5% annual forecast increase in passenger flow through airports in Asia-Pacific whose growth was projected to surpass the global growth average of 4.5% to 5% a year.
AoT president Makin Petplai said indications are to assume over 100 million passenger throughput in the year to September 2016 is achievable.
Analysts, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorised to talk to the media, were in consensus that the landmark figures were realistic as Thailand's travel outlook has improved following the May 22 military takeover.
Thailand's travel and tourism industry is very resilient and can rebound soon after adverse events, an analyst said.
The forecast in passenger traffic for fiscal 2016 represents only a 16.1% rise, or 13.9 million more, from 86.1 million in fiscal 2013, he said.
Annual double-digit growth over the next two years can be reasonably anticipated, as there was no serious impact from political turmoil or natural disasters in the past.
Total passenger traffic through AoT-operated airports including Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai in fiscal 2013 grew 20.4% from the previous year. But Mr Makin said the AoT expects to record only 2-3% growth in passenger volume for fiscal 2014 due to the prolonged political turmoil that crippled the country since November.
Between October 2013 and May 2014, the AoT recorded an aggregate passenger volume of 60.3 million, up 4.2% over the previous period, with domestic travellers growing 14.3% to 24.6 million while the international tally contracted by 1.84% to 35.8 million.
Most analysts recently raised traffic forecasts through AoT both for fiscal 2014 and 2015 to reflect the improved overall situation in Thailand.
The proliferation of low-cost carriers in Thailand will also propel growth in passenger traffic, an analyst said.
KGI Securities (Thailand) upgraded AoT's passenger traffic growth for fiscal 2014 to 5% from 4%.
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