AOT expects to return to pre-pandemic passenger traffic by next year as tourism sector recovers

AOT expects to return to pre-pandemic passenger traffic by next year as tourism sector recovers

The state-owned Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) said they expect the number of passengers at all 6 of their airports to increase to 96 million in the 2022-2023 fiscal year from 46 million it had recorded during the past fiscal year.

AOT’s fiscal year starts on October 1st of each year.

The figure of 96 million passengers would account for 2/3 of the number of passengers prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They also expect the number of passengers to return to the pre-Covid level of 142 million by the 2023-2024 fiscal year which would be around 400,000 per day.

The current number is around 230,000 per day as of November 7 compared to around 180,000 per day before the high season which is usually during the 4th quarter and 1st quarter of the year.

“The company’s profit is expected to return to the billions of Baht margin as we expect the number of passengers at the 6 airports to recover by 2/3 of the period before the Covid-19 pandemic or around 96 million passengers per year,” said Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, AOT’s president.

The company made a profit of 26 billion Baht in fiscal 2018-2019 compared to a loss of 2.7 billion Baht in fiscal year 2020-2021. The expected profit of 2021-2022 was 1.7 billion Baht.

Nitinai said the number of flights increased by 30-40% since October 31, despite the lack of Chinese tourists while arrivals were mainly from Asia, India and Middle East.

He said the next 300-400 days will be a crucial period for Thailand’s tourism sector as the demand is already rising but the supply is still lacking as the pandemic had decimated many tourism-related businesses over the past 2 years.

“There will be an imbalance throughout next year because the supply chain needs time to recover,” he said.

The Immigration Bureau said last week that they have increased its capacity to handle passengers at Suvarnabhumi Airport as the number of arrivals had increased to 3,000-4,000 per hour during peak hours.

The capacity at the immigration booths at the airport was increased from 5,500 travelers per hour to 6,500 hours in response to the increase in traffic, AOT said.