Just days after a military coup in Thailand, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport has opened. Intended to boost the country’s role as a regional trade hub, the airport, built at a cost of three billion euros, has been plagued by allegations of corruption and mismanagement. The much delayed facility boasts the world’s largest single terminal building and tallest control tower.
Designed to handle 45 million passengers a year, it replaces an elderly and run-down airport and won praise from one regular Thai traveller Pracha Chotvilaivanich. He said: “It’s worth the cost, it’s much better than the old airport.”
But not all went smoothly, many bags went astray and one German passenger said things were better at the old airport: “I waiting here for about 45 minutes. It’s a record in my life, around the world. But the old airport was very quick, about 10 minutes.”
The project has been closely linked with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, just ousted by a military junta, and investigations are underway into alleged irregularities in awarding contracts for many airport facilities and services.