YALA (South Thailand), March 14 — The new 1.9-billion baht Betong International Airport welcomed its inaugural flight on Monday, providing a boost for the tourism industry in the country’s southernmost town located in Yala province.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha and several Cabinet ministers were were among the 80 onboard Nok Air flight DD6260 for the maiden two-hour five-minute flight from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport.
After arriving Prayuth presided over the opening ceremony of the new Betong International Airport, that has a 7,000-square-metre passenger terminal and 1.8-kilometre runway to accommodate small aircraft such as ATR and Bombardier Q-400.
Located about 13 kilometres east of downtown Betong, the airport is capable of handling up to 300 passengers an hour or 800,000 passenger a year. It received an operating licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on January 28. It is the 29th airport under Department of Airports (DOA) supervision.
“The Betong International Airport will boost tourism industry in southern Thailand. It will revitalize tourism and economy in the region.
“Therefore, the government will develop transportation infrastructure and logistic to attract tourist arrivals to Betong,” he said at the opening ceremony.
He added the proposed reopening of Thailand-Malaysia land border in April, would also help boost tourist arrivals.
Nok Air operates three scheduled flights to Betong a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Bangkok.