You’ve heard of Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, U Tapao, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui airports, but you probably didn’t know that there’s at least another 75 places in Thailand with runways
These range in size from airfields that may consist of just a single narrow landing strip and perhaps a small adjoining structure, to the sprawling complex comprising Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which in 2017 accommodated almost 61million domestic and international travellers.
There are 24 airports with scheduled commercial service and 11 that function as international airports. About 18 airports are strictly for military use, reserved for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), Royal Thai Army (RTA) or Royal Thai Navy (RTN). Fourteen others are joint public/military airports. Six airports are operated by the Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT), a government-owned company, and apparently 30 are operated by the Department of Airports (DOA), under the Ministry of Transport. There are also a number of private airports in the country, for example three owned and operated by Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited (BA).
There are also a number of airports constructed in the ‘middle of nowhere’, some with relatively long runways and associated structures. Looking at these isolated aviation centers on a map, it’s hard to come by a reason for their existence. An inevitable question arises: Could some of them be used for illicit activities? On a more positive note, however, it is comforting to know they are available to a pilot looking for a place to land in an emergency situation.