The airport's name - pronounced Su-wa-na-poom - means 'Golden Land', bestowed upon it by H.M. King Bumibol Adulyadej. The launch of the airport also came in the auspicious year of His Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Hotels near Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi inherit its IATA airport code 'BKK' from Don Muang International Airport. Don Muang has been recoded as 'DBK' (for charter, VIP and military flights).
First Day of Operations
All systems at Suvarnabhumi International Airport were declared ready for the start of full-scale commercial services at 03:00 on September 28 2006 when Don Muang International Airport was officially closed to scheduled flights.
Suvarnabhumi is located in Racha Thewa in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province, 30 kilometres east of Bangkok.
The airport has two parallel runways (both are 60 meters wide, and 4,000 and 3,700 meters long, respectively), as well as two parallel taxiways to accommodate simultaneous departures and arrivals. It has a total of 120 aircraft parking bays (51 with contact gates and 69 that will use remote gates).
Five of these are capable of accommodating the Airbus A380 aircraft. With a capacity of handling 76 flight operations per hour, both international and domestic flights share the airport terminal but are assigned to different parts of the concourse.
In the initial phase of construction, it was capable of handling 45 million passengers and three million tons of cargo per year. Between the airport hotel and the terminal building are the two five-storey car park buildings with a combined capacity of 5,000 cars.
Nearest Hotel The 612-room Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel is only a five minute walk from the airport via a 300-meter underground walkway. The hotel features four restaurants, two bars, a swimming pool, fitness centre and health spa. Have a look here for rates and reservations.
Transportation Road access are provided to the new airport by a series of new highways connected to Bangkok's existing outer ring road. The main access road is an elevated two-by-five lane road that leads from the passenger terminal through the northern part of the site to the new Bangkok-Chonburi Expressway.
The construction of the City Airport Terminal in Makkasan and a 28,6 kilometer high-speed rail link to the new airport started in July 2005, and is now in operation. It connects with the Skytrain (BTS) Sukhumvit Line and Undergound (MRT) Blue Line at Phayathai and Phetchaburi stations respectively, offering airport-bound passengers a fast 15-minute journey from the city.
Meanwhile, a sophisticated transport infrastructure is in place to transport passengers around the various terminal buildings, bus and taxi stands with complimentary shuttle buses, and a public bus system has been implemented, serving various downtown routes.
Taxis are not allowed to be more than five years old, and airport certification / compliance is required. An airport limousine service will also be available. In reality, it can take 10 to 15 minutes longer to reach most central Bangkok destinations, and taxi fares are also expected to increase from about 150 baht (average) to 250 baht. The average travelling time to Bangkok's CBD is expected to be about 40 minutes.
Main Terminal Building Layout
There are four levels at the new airport - each with its own specific purpose. Level one is for the bus terminals and taxi stands, level two is dedicated to arrivals, a meet-and-greet centre is available on level three, and passengers are departing from level four.
• Level 1 (Bus Lobby and Taxis)
This is where the airport shuttle buses picks up and drops off passengers. The taxi stands are also located on this level. Other facilities include food outlets, lifts, escalator access and bathrooms.
• Level 2 (Arrivals)
The arrivals gates are located here. Services for immigration, customs and baggage pickup for inbound passengers are all on this floor. There is a convenient Help Desk just outside the luggage pick-up area. Other facilities include a concierge desk, food outlets, shopping outlets, lifts, escalator access and bathrooms.
• Level 3 (Meeting Centre)
Mainly a meet-and-greet area, this section of the airport is taken up predominately by lounges, a rest area, food and shopping outlets. Lift and escalator access is also available.
• Level 4 (Departures)
This is where outbound passengers check-in and depart. An information booth is located near the check-in gates for any last-minute questions. The majority of the duty-free shopping is located on this level, most of which is available after going through immigration. Other facilities include a rest area, VAT refund desk, food outlets, lift and escalator access, as well as bathrooms.
Long-term plans for four runways flanking two main terminals and two satellite buildings with a combined capacity capable of handling up to 100 million passengers and 6.4 million tons of cargo a year are on the drawing board. The second phase of airport expansion involving the construction of a satellite building south of the main terminal is expected to begin three to five years after the completion of the first main terminal. All photographs courtesy of the Airports of Thailand Public Company (AOT)