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AoT Mulls Subsidiary for Small Airport Management

In a bid to stabilize state coffers, Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is exploring the establishment of a subsidiary tasked with managing smaller airports currently under the wing of the financially beleaguered Department of Airports.

President of AoT, Kirati Kijmanawat, disclosed on Tuesday the prospective formation of this subsidiary, slated to operate directly under AoT’s umbrella, with the parent company and Vayupak funds among the primary stakeholders. Notably, this subsidiary will remain closed to private investors due to its operational involvement with state assets.

The plan, according to Mr. Kirati, is presently in the evaluation phase, anticipated to conclude within six months. Concurrently, the agency is gearing up for the imminent transfer of local airports from the department, aligning with government policy. Initial acquisitions include Buriram, Udon Thani, and Krabi airports, greenlit during the prior administration’s tenure.

Awaiting the nod from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, AoT is poised to finalize the transition of the aforementioned trio of airports. However, Mr. Kirati clarified that while the company anticipates assuming control of additional airports from the department, no commitment has been made to acquire all offerings. The decision hinges on factors such as business viability and approval from AoT shareholders.

Identifying Khon Kaen, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phrae, Nan, and Mae Hong Son airports as potential targets, Mr. Kirati highlighted their dual role in catering to both local commuters and tourists. Conversely, Tak airport will not fall under AoT’s purview, as its sole function pertains to artificial rainmaking.

With 25 more airports in the department’s arsenal, the government faces the necessity of allocating 3-4 billion baht from the annual state budget to buttress the department against operational losses plaguing its current roster of airports.

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