From the Blog

The airports of the world


An airport is simply an aerodrome that has extended passenger facilities. Since the end of the Second World War the facility has developed massively as planes have become, safer, faster and more efficient in transporting passengers around the world every day. If an airport has to close due to weather conditions, or a break down in computer systems, the affect is massive.  The cost is enormous as the airlines are responsible for transporting their passengers to a certain destination in a given time frame.

The world’s economies are reliant on efficient and effective airports. It does not matter how advanced today’s aircraft are, if the airports do not do their jobs properly then the whole system breaks down. One look at the numbers of passengers that pass through airports each year demonstrates the scale of this daily global migration. The airport is often at the centre of a region’s transport hub. Planes are unable to take people to their doors so when a plane arrives at the airport there are alternative modes of transport available for the passengers to use of as they make their way to their destination.

Terminal 5 Heathrow

Most airports nowadays have their own railway station, tube station and many are located next to the major road networks of a region. The location of an airport can be quite difficult as there are several factors that need to be considered. Firstly many people object to having an airport located on their door step due to the noise pollution. Siting an airport away from the population is not the solution as an airport needs tens of thousands of people to be employed in order to operate the daily operations.

It has been estimated that over 76,000 people are employed at London’s Heathrow Airport with it generating 3.6 billion pounds a year towards the local economy. The space needed for an airport is huge as runways needed to be located as well as terminal buildings and space for the general workings of the airport. One of the world’s newest airports is Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, Thailand which opened in 2006 and is situated on old swamp land 40 km to the east of Bangkok. Already the airport is the 20th busiest airport in the world and it covers an area of area of 8000 acres, which makes it the 7th biggest airport in the world.

The airport rail link at Suvarnabhumi

The building of the airport was a huge undertaking because as well as the airport being built it was accompanied by the building of new transport links. The road system in the area has been improved massively with the building of the 7 motorway which as well as well as tacking traffic into Bangkok,  also goes down the eastern seaboard of the country terminating in the coastal city of Pattaya.

An airport rail link train service has been built running from the airport into central Bangkok. Most of the route is elevated over the existing rail tracks and the service is run by the State Railway of Thailand. There are plans to extend the track to link it with Don Muang airport which as previously Bangkok’s main airport. There is the regional overland train service which takes many of the airport workers to and from their homes. However, in order to access this a journey of one stop is needed on the airport rail link to get from the terminal to the nearest station of Lad Krabang.

The amount of capital already invested in Survanabhumi shows how airports can kick start a countries development. There are already plans to expand the airport to increase its capacity as the country is determined to benefit from the increasing affluence in other parts of Asia and the rest of the world. Thailand is already a hugely popular tourist destination yet the forecasts are that the numbers of people visiting the country will increase markedly in the coming years. The Thai authorities realize that if they are going to be able to benefit from this then they will need to continue to develop the country’s main airport terminal.