Chiang Mai International Airport will begin operating around the clock from next Wednesday as a response to the government’s Quick-Win economic stimulus policies, according to Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.
He said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin deemed the expanded hours necessary given the expectation that tourists will be flooding in during the year-end peak season, and in future thanks to visa exemptions for visitors from Chinese and Kazakhstan, among other factors.
Airports of Thailand (AoT) has confirmed that the airport in the northern province will expand its hours, currently 6am to midnight, to around-the-clock operations from Nov 1.
A direct flight from Chiang Mai to Osaka in Japan operated by Thai VietJet will be the first flight to depart once the change is made. It will leave Chiang Mai at 12.30am that day.
Mr Suriya said the ministry had asked AoT to hold talks with carriers and related parties about appropriate flight routes and schedules to take advantage of the expanded hours.
Operations must follow the airport's environmental impact assessment guidelines, especially for noise, to ensure the least impact on residents living nearby. A suitable compensation plan for those who will be affected will also be discussed.
AoT will will also hold a public hearing for area residents later, said Mr Suriya.
Chiang Mai airport currently welcomes about 4,800 visitors from 20 international flights a day. The government expects 24-hour service will increase international passenger numbers by about 30%, said Mr Suriya.