Operators at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport said they are ready to divert flights and close terminals if monsoon flood waters force the closure of Thailand’s top air cargo hub.
A spokesman for Thai Airways said although the airport was still open, transport to and from Bangkok had slowed, and many import and export warehouses and factories were closed.
“We have started the contingency plan to take care of our cargo terminal in case the flood surrounds the airport and the staff face difficulty coming to work,” he said.
If water broke through to the airport, shipments in warehouses would be stored above the water level, the airport closed and flights diverted to U-Tapao Pattaya International Airport, a civil-military airport 87 miles east of Bangkok on the Gulf of Siam.
Cargo traffic has fallen about 5 percent since the monsoon floods, said Stewart Sinclair, senior vice president Asia and managing director of ground handler Bangkok Flight Services, part of the Worldwide Flight Services group.
“Aside from about 12 percent of the agricultural land being flooded, which is a tragedy in itself, last week saw the inundation of several industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani to the north of Bangkok.
He said some 300,000 workers had been affected by the closure of the estates. “These estates, which it is estimated contribute about 7 percent of GDP in Thailand, are completely submerged — 2-3 meters [6.6 to 9.8 feet] — and all of the factories in them have been closed down for the time being.”
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