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Thailand’s ‘Nan’ airport expansion opens opportunities for U.S. airport technologies

Thailand’s tourist airport, Nan Nakhon, will undergo Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for airport expansion, an opportunity for U.S. airport technologies.

The Royal Thai Government (RTG)’s Department of Airports (DoA) is seeking a budget of 40 million baht (approximately 1.16 US$) from the RTG to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the expansion of Nan Nakhon Airport, including the construction of a new terminal and survey on the airport’s runway expansion. An expansion of Nan Nakhon Airport would provide opportunities for construction and engineering services, airport development technologies, and equipment. 

According to the DoA Deputy Director General, the existing runway is to be extended from the current 2,000 meters to 2,500 meters in order to be able to handle larger aircraft.  The runway expansion will allow the airport to receive more flights from overseas, and for passengers to connect from major airports in Thailand including Bangkok and Phuket where larger aircraft are used. 

The requested budget support for the study is expected to be granted by the Thai government from the 2023 fiscal budget.  The EIA is expected to begin immediately after the budget and funding are approved. 

Following a positive EIA, the Nan Nakhon airport expansion project is slated to begin in 2025, starting from land acquisitions sufficient to support a 500 meters extension of the existing runway.  The actual runway expansion construction is likely to take place in the year 2027.  It would take about two to three years for the airport construction to be completed. 

While DoA has not revealed the specific budget for the overall airport expansion project, it is expected that the total project budget will be announced once the EIA is completed. 

With a long-term horizon, the airport expansion will create more opportunities for U.S. companies providing airport equipment and technologies in all stages of planning, development, and implementation. The U.S. Commercial Service in Bangkok can help interested companies to meet local partners which know how to best offer products and services to the Thai airport developer and operator. Working with a local agent, distributor or representative is critical for U.S. companies interested in selling their products and services in the Thai market. Local companies and buyers put a high premium on companies with a local or regional presence and ongoing support. Government regulators may also interact better with a U.S. company’s local partner.