Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, also known by its current airport code DMK, provides international and domestic air service to the area of Bangkok in Thailand. At its peak, the airport saw as many as 38 million passengers per year and was ranked among the 20 busiest airports of the world.
Don Mueang Airport
Much of the airports previous traffic has been shifted to other airports in the Bangkok area. Don Mueang currently provides service to regional and budget carriers with about 4 million people passing through the airport’s gates each year. Aviation authorities in Thailand also require charter flights to utilize the airport.
Even with these limitations, Don Mueang International Airport is busy and expected to grow. Its passenger counts are forecast to reach as many as 8 million people per year. Because of its former service as a major international airport, the terminals at Don Mueang have the capacity to handle growth.
Currently the airport utilizes one of the three former terminals. The airport has a stated capacity of about 35 million utilizing all terminals with Terminal 1 capable of handling about 16 million people per year. Even though some updates and renovations may be performed, major expansions to the airport are not contemplated.
The airport also still maintains extensive cargo terminal facilities. The cargo terminal has a stated capacity of about 1 million tons of airfreight per year. The ground facilities can accommodate loading or unloading two Boeing 747 sized aircraft but is limited to domestic cargo.
Don Mueang Airport and Air Force
Along with the limited commercial operations, the airport serves as a major base for the Royal Thai Air Force. The RTAF first utilized the area for air operations in the early days of flight before World War I. The base was home to the first airplanes of the fledgling force beginning in about 1911. RTAF continues to maintain operations at Don Mueang as a base for its transport aircraft. The space between the two major runways at the airport is also utilized by the air force for its own golf course.
The airport utilizes two parallel runways for air operations. The runways are nearly identical in length at about 3,600 meters or 12,000 feet. The runways support aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747 and are lit and equipped with instrument landing systems. The airport operates around the clock with no noise restrictions. The airport handles about 35,000 take offs and landings each year with a capacity of handling 60 aircraft movement hours during its busiest hours. The aprons have space for about 100 aircraft with about 60 located away from the terminal area.
Don Mueang International Airport provides travelers with a less crowded and stressful airport experience than some of the other international airports of the region. This makes it popular with travelers flying to or from destinations served by the budget airlines that utilize the airport. However, the airport has faced difficulties with flooding closing its runways during heavy rainfall. In those instances, those flights are redirected to the busier airports of the region.