Don Mueang International Airport

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Don Mueang International Airport
Logo dmk.jpg
Bangkok - International (Don Muang) (DMK - VTBD) AN2196231.jpg
Airport type Military / Public
Owner Royal Thai Air Force
Operator Airports of Thailand PCL (AOT)
Location 222 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Sanam Bin Subdistrict, Don Mueang, Bangkok, Thailand
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 9 ft / 3 m
Coordinates 13°54′45″N 100°36′24″E / 13.91250°N 100.60667°E / 13.91250; 100.60667Coordinates: 13°54′45″N 100°36′24″E / 13.91250°N 100.60667°E / 13.91250; 100.60667
DMK is located in Bangkok
Location of airport in Bangkok
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03L/21R 3,700 12,139 Asphalt
03R/21L 3,500 11,483 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Total passengers 35,203,757 Increase16.17%
International passengers 11,880,300 Increase29.55%
Domestic passengers 23,323,457 Increase10.36%
Aircraft movements 244,296 Increase9.02%
Freight (tonnes) 55,119 Increase50.18%
Sources: Airport[1]

Don Mueang International Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานดอนเมือง, IPA: [dɔ̄ːn.mɯ̄aŋ], or colloquially as Thai: สนามบินดอนเมือง, IPA: [sā.nǎːm.bīn.dɔ̄ːn.mɯ̄aŋ]) (IATA: DMKICAO: VTBD) (aka Bangkok International Airport) is one of two international airports serving Greater Bangkok, the other one being Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).

The airport is considered to be one of the world's oldest international airports and Asia's oldest operating airport.[2] It was officially opened as a Royal Thai Air Force base on 27 March 1914, although it had been in use earlier. Commercial flights began in 1924, making it one of the world's oldest commercial airports. The first commercial flight was an arrival by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.[3] Don Mueang Airport was closed and replaced by the new Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006, before reopening on 24 March 2007 after renovations. Since the opening of the new airport, it has become a regional commuter flight hub and the de facto low-cost airline hub. In 2015, it became the world's largest low cost carrier airport.[4]

Don Mueang was an important hub of Asia and the hub of Thai Airways International prior to its closure. At its peak, it served most[clarification needed] air traffic for the entire country, with 80 airlines operating 160,000 flights and handling over 38 million passengers and 700,000 tons of cargo in 2004. It was then the 14th busiest airport in the world and 2nd in Asia by passenger volume. Currently, Don Mueang is the main hub for Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, and Orient Thai Airlines.


Early years[edit]

FAA diagram

"Don Mueang" airfield was the second established in Thailand, after Sa Pathum airfield, which is now Sa Pathum horse racing course, known as the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The first flights to Don Mueang were made on 8 March 1914 and involved the transfer of aircraft of the Royal Thai Air Force. Three years earlier, Thailand had sent three army officers to France to train as pilots. On completion of their training in 1911, the pilots were authorized to purchase eight aircraft, four Breguets and four Nieuports, which formed the basis of the Royal Thai Air Force. Sa Pathum airfield was established in February 1911 with an arrival by Orville Wright, seven years after the invention of the first airplane by the Wright brothers on 17 December 1903.[5]

In 1933, the airfield was the scene of heavy fighting between royalists and government forces during the Boworadet Rebellion. The airfield was used by the occupying Japanese during World War II, and was bombed and strafed by Allied aircraft on several occasions.

After the war had finished in September 1945 the airfield was occupied by the RAF during the brief British occupation of Thailand until March 1946 when 211 Squadron, which moved there in October 1945, was disbanded.[6]

During the Vietnam War, Don Mueang was a major command and logistics hub of the United States Air Force.[citation needed]

Before the opening of Suvarnabhumi, the airport used the IATA airport code BKK and the name was spelled "Don Muang". After Suvarnabhumi opened for commercial flights, the spelling was changed and as "Don Mueang" it now uses the airport code DMK, though it still retains the ICAO airport code VTBD. The traditional spelling is still used by many airlines and by most Thais.


The night of 27–28 September 2006 was the official end of operations at Don Mueang airport. The last commercial flights were:

  • International departure: Although scheduled for Kuwait Airways KU414 to Kuwait at 02:50,[7] Qantas flight QF302 to Sydney, originally scheduled for 18:00, was delayed for more than nine hours before finally taking off at 03:12, about ten minutes after the Kuwait flight. Qantas claimed that QF302 was an extra flight.[8]
  • International arrival: Kuwait Airways from Jakarta at 01:30[9]
  • Domestic departure: Thai Airways TG124 to Chiang Mai at 22:15 (coincidentally, when Thai moved domestic operations back to Don Mueang again on 28 March 2009, their last departure was also a 22:15 flight to Chiang Mai)
  • Domestic arrival: TG216 from Phuket at 23:00


Aerial photo of DMK at Night

Commercial carriers deserted Don Mueang at the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport. But the higher operating costs of the new airport and safety concerns over cracked runways at the new airport caused many to seek a return to Don Mueang. Low-cost airlines led demands for a reopening of the airport. Airports of Thailand released a report at the end of 2006 which furthered this effort. The report proposed reopening DMK as a way to avoid or delay second-stage expansion which had been planned for Suvarnabhumi.[10]

On 30 January 2007, the Ministry of Transport recommended temporarily reopening Don Mueang while touch up work proceeded on some taxiways at Suvarnabhumi.[11] The recommendation was subject to approval by the Thai cabinet. On 25 March 2007, the airport officially reopened for some domestic flights.

Because of the 2011 Thailand floods that affected Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, the airport was closed as flood waters flowed onto the runways and affected the lighting.[12][13] Don Mueang reopened on 6 March 2012.

On 16 March 2012, the Government of Thailand and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered all low-cost, chartered, and non-connecting flights to relocate to Don Mueang. This ended the single-airport policy.[14] Airports of Thailand was ordered to encourage low-cost carriers to shift to Don Mueang to help ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport.[15][16] Suvarnabhumi airport was designed to handle 45 million passengers per year,[15] but it processed 48 million in 2011 and number is expected to reach 53 million in 2012. Some ten airlines may relocate to Don Mueang. Budget airline Nok Air is already serving flights from and to Don Mueang. Nok Air handles about four million passengers per year. Orient Thai Airlines and Thai AirAsia have also started operations at Don Mueang. Thai AirAsia carried 7.2 million passengers in 2011. The number is projected to grow to eight million in 2012.[17]

Currently Terminal 1 is capable of handling 18.5 million passengers annually.[18] On 7 September 2013, Airports of Thailand announced its three billion baht renovation to reopen Terminal 2 as early as May 2014. Terminal 1's passengers in 2013 will likely reach 16 million against its capacity of 18.5 million. Completion of Terminal 2 in December 2015 increases Don Mueang's passenger capacity to 30 million a year.[19]

A third phase of Don Mueang's expansion plans stretches from 2017 to 2025. It aims to increase the airport's passenger capacity to 40 million per year from its current 34 million, and increase the number of flights accommodated from 40 per hour to 50 per hour.[20]


Don Mueang International Airport has two terminals. Terminal 1 is used for international flights and Terminal 2 for domestic flights. The opening of Terminal 2 has raised the airport's capacity to 30 million passengers per year.[21]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
AirAsia Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur–International
China Express Airlines Zhanjiang
Indonesia AirAsia Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta, Medan
Indonesia AirAsia X Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta
JC International Airlines Phnom Penh
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–International
New Gen Airways Guilin, Huangshan, Xuzhou
Charter: Baotou, Changsha, Fuzhou, Guiyang, Hefei, Huai'an, Jinan, Nanchang, Nanning, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Yiwu
Nok Air Buriram, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chumphon, Hat Yai, Hefei, Ho Chi Minh City, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Lampang, Loei, Mae Sot, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Phuket, Ranong, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Surat Thani, Trang, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Yangon
Seasonal: Nanjing
NokScoot Dalian, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, Taipei–Taoyuan, Tianjin, Xi'an
Seasonal charter: Tokyo–Narita
Orient Thai Airlines Changsha, Nanchang, Shanghai–Pudong
R Airlines Charter: Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, Narathiwat, Phuket
Scoot Osaka–Kansai, Singapore, Tokyo–Narita
Siam Air Changsha, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Zhengzhou
Thai AirAsia Bangalore, Buriram, Changsha, Chengdu (begins 1 February 2018),[22] Chennai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chongqing, Da Nang, Denpasar/Bali, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hanoi, Hat Yai, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jaipur, Johor Bharu (begins 10 February 2018),[23] Khon Kaen, Kochi, Kolkata, Krabi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kunming, Loei, Luang Prabang, Macau, Malé, Mandalay, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Nanjing, Narathiwat, Penang, Phitsanulok, Phnom Penh, Phuket, Ranong (resumes 16 February 2018),[24] Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Shantou, Shenzhen, Siem Reap, Singapore, Surat Thani, Tiruchirapalli, Trang, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Vientiane, Wuhan, Xi'an, Yangon
Charter: Gaya, Ningbo, Varanasi, Wenzhou
Thai AirAsia X Osaka–Kansai, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Tokyo–Narita
Charter: Shenyang
Thai Lion Air Chengdu, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chongqing, Denpasar, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Hat Yai, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Khon Kaen, Kochi (begins 1 February 2018),[25] Krabi, Kunming,[26] Mumbai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nanchang, Nanjing, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Singapore, Surat Thani, Taipei–Taoyuan,[27] Tianjin (begins 1 February 2018)[28], Trang, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Yangon, Zhengzhou
Charter: Changzhou,[29] Hangzhou,[29] Jinan, Shanghai–Pudong,[29] Taiyuan, Xi'an,[29]
Tigerair Taiwan Taipei–Taoyuan

Traffic statistics[edit]

Passenger figures[edit]

A Nok Air Boeing 737-800 at the gate.
Thai Airways aircraft at the airport before their relocation to Suvarnabhumi Airport
Domestic Terminal of DMK
Arrival Corridor in Domestic Arrival

Total passenger traffic through Don Mueang jumped 40.7 percent to 30.3 million in 2015, with international numbers rising 53.1 percent to 9.17 million and domestic passengers increasing 35.9 percent to 21.1 million. Aircraft movements rose by 29.8 percent to 224,074, including 158,804 domestic (up 26.2 percent) and 65,270 international (up 39.3 percent).[30]

Calendar year Passengers Change from the previous Movements Cargo
2008 5,043,235
2009 2,466,997 Decrease051.1%
2010 2,999,867 Increase021.6%
2011 3,424,915 Increase014.2% 51,301
2012 5,983,141 Increase074.7% 65,120 7,329
2013 16,479,227 Increase0472.70% 154,827 25,657
2014 21,546,568 Increase030.75% 172,681 29,086
2015 30,304,183 Increase029.76% 224,074 45,488
2016 35,203,757 Increase016.17% 244,296 55,119
2017(August) 25,355,596 Increase07.29% 169,686 39,617
Source: Airports of Thailand PLC
Year Domestic International Total Change%
2008 5,043,235 5,043,235 Increase 0.46
2009 2,466,997 2,466,997 Decrease 51.1%
2010 2,999,867 2,999,867 Increase 21.6%
2011 3,424,915 3,424,915 Increase 14.2%
2012 5,983,141 Increase 74.7%
2013 11,190,783 5,288,444 16,479,227 Increase 472.70%
2014 15,556,627 5,989,941 21,546,568 Increase 30.75%
2015 21,133,502 9,170,681 30,304,183 Increase 29.76%
2016 22,933,491 11,756,398 35,203,757 Increase 21.34%
2017(August) 15,955,723 9,399,873 25,355,596 Increase 7.29%

Busiest domestic routes 2016[edit]

Busiest domestic routes to and from Don Mueang Airport 2016[31]
Rank Airport Passengers Handled 2016 %Change
1 Chiang Mai 3,862,218 Increase 9.25%
2 Phuket 3,370,623 Increase27.22%
3 Hat Yai 2,679,224 Increase0.31%
4 Surat Thani 1,548,885 Increase7.05%
5 Udon Thani 1,521,415 Increase2.74%
6 Chiang Rai 1,462,608 Increase16.33%
7 Ubon Ratchathani 1,447,921 Increase17.11%
8 NakhonSithamarat 1,389,365 Increase26.07%
9 Krabi 1,347,949 Increase5.79%
10 Khon Kaen 908,749 Decrease4.52%

Busiest international routes 2016[edit]

Busiest international routes to and from Don Mueang Airport 2016[31]
Rank Airport Passengers 2016  % Change
1 Kuala Lumpur 1,339,645 Increase8.16%
2 Singapore 1,072,807 Increase14.69%
3 Yangon 758,108 Increase35.03%
4 Tokyo–Narita 525,825 Increase34.88%
5 Ho Chi Minh City 523,922 Increase86.55%
6 Nanjing 428,762 Increase48.60%
7 Macau 421,131 Increase20.77%
8 Jakarta–Soekarno–Hatta 391,738 Increase38.70%
9 Hong Kong 371,015 Decrease13.57%
10 Changsha 354,341 Increase38.02%
Bangkok Don Mueang Airport Passenger Totals (millions)

Other facilities[edit]

  • The following companies have head offices on the airport property: Siam Air[32] and R Airlines[33]
  • Don Mueang International Airport is a joint-use facility, shared with the Royal Thai Air Force's (RTAF) Don Muang Royal Thai Air Force Base, and is the home of the RTAF 1st Air Division, which consists primarily of non-combat aircraft.
  • A RTAF golf course is located between the two runways. The course has no separation from the runway, and golfers are held back by a red light whenever planes land.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 14 June 1972 – Japan Airlines Flight 471, which originated at Don Mueang, crashed outside of New Delhi's Palam International Airport, killing 82 of 87 occupants; 10 of 11 crew members and 72 of 76 passengers died, and 3 people on the ground died.[34][35]
  • On 25 December 1976 – EgyptAir Flight 864, a Boeing 707-300 bound for Bangkok from Cairo, crashed into an industrial area near the airport during a landing attempt. All 53 aboard were killed.
  • On 27 April 1980 – Thai Airways Flight 231, a BAe 748 which was en route from Khon Kaen to Bangkok, lost altitude during a thunderstorm and crashed about 13 km from Bangkok International Airport. All four crew members and 40 of the 49 passengers were killed.
  • On 1 April 1981- Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) raided hijacked Garuda Indonesia Flight 206 which was en route from Palembang to Polonia Airport (hijacked in Indonesian airspace). All 48 passengers safe, seven fatalities (one commando, one co-pilot, five terrorists). Imran bin Muhammad Zein, hijacker leader, captured.
  • On June 23, 1985 – An explosion at Tokyo Narita International Airport killed two baggage handlers, and injured four. The bomb was intended for Air India Flight 301, with 177 passengers and crew on board, bound for Don Mueang International Airport.
  • On 29 November 1987 – Korean Air Flight 858, flying from Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq to Abu Dhabi International Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to Don Mueang to Gimpo Airport near Seoul, South Korea, exploded over the Andaman Sea after a bomb planted by North Korean agents exploded. Everyone on board were killed.
  • On 9 September 1988– Vietnam Airlines Flight 831 crashed while on approach to Don Mueang International Airport. 76 of the 90 passengers and crew on board were killed.
  • On 26 May 1991 – Lauda Air Flight 004, which was headed to Wien-Schwechat International Airport in Vienna, suffered an in-flight deployment of the thrust reverser on the No. 1 engine after taking off from Don Mueang. There were no survivors from the 213 passengers and 10 crew.
  • On 21 January 1992 – Douglas VC-47D L2-41/15/210 of the Royal Thai Air Force was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident.[36]
  • On 23 September 1999 – Qantas Flight 1, in what was then the most serious incident in the airline's famously safe jet aircraft history, a Boeing 747-400 overshot the runway causing significant damage but no casualties.
  • On 3 March 2001 – Thai Airways International Flight 114, a Thai Airways International Boeing 737-400 (HS-TDC), bound for Chiang Mai from Bangkok, was destroyed by an explosion and fire that occurred about 35 minutes before Thaksin Shinawatra, later to become Prime Minister of Thailand, and about 150 other passengers were to board. Five members of the cabin crew were aboard, and one was killed. Witnesses said they heard an explosion before flames erupted aboard the aircraft. Subsequently, NTSB investigators reported that the central fuel tank had exploded followed by the right tank 18 minutes later. The cause for the explosion was unclear, though some speculate it was an assassination attempt based on chemicals found during the subsequent investigation.

Ground transportation[edit]

Airport Shuttle bus Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi Airport at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Transfer to/from Suvarnabhumi Airport[edit]

Don Mueang International Airport is approximately 1–1.5 hours from Suvarnabhumi Airport by rail or bus. There are also direct buses between the airports operated by Airport Shuttle Bus.


The airport has two main access routes. Among these the most convenient route is via the Don Mueang Tollway. Another main airport entrance is Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.


Don Mueang International Airport is served by the SRT Dark Red Line and Airport Rail Link at Don Mueang Station that connect with Bang Sue Central Station, it will open in 2020.



  1. ^ "Air transport statistic 2016 summary" (PDF). Airports of Thailand PLC. January 23, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Midnight Initiation for Suvarnabhumi". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Bangkok Don Mueang becomes world's largest LCC airport, overtaking KLIA, Barcelona & Las Vegas". Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Bomber Squadrons of the R.A.F. and their Aircraft, Philip Moyes , 1964, Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., London, p. 200
  7. ^ "Exporters pan new export fees". Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Qantas steals show at last minute", Bangkok Post, 29 September 2006
  9. ^ ATW: LH Cargo set to be first into Suvarnabhumi
  10. ^ "In With the Old", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 1 Jan 2007.
  11. ^ "Use Don Muang during repairs: 2 airlines". The Nation. 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2017-05-14. 
  12. ^ Don Muang Airport (DMK) Bangkok Thailand | Don Muang Airport Guide. Retrieved on 25 Aug 2013.
  13. ^ "Thai floods: Bangkok Don Muang airport suspends flights". BBC News. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Low-cost carriers start launching from Don Mueang". The Nation. Bangkok. 1 Oct 2012. Retrieved 15 Oct 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Thongrung, Watcharapong; Amnartchareonrit, Bamrung (16 Mar 2012). "Budget airlines to fly from Don Mueang". The Nation. Bangkok. Retrieved 15 Oct 2012. 
  16. ^ Mahitthirook, Amornrat; Kositchotethana, Boonsong (21 Jun 2012). "Airlines get big discounts for move to Don Mueang". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 10 Nov 2012. 
  17. ^ Pinijparakarn, Sucheera (23 May 2012). "IPO of Asia Aviation is expected to raise Bt4.5 bn". The Nation. Bangkok. Retrieved 15 Oct 2012. 
  18. ^ Amnartchareonrit, Bamrung (18 Aug 2012). "Don Mueang will be ready on time, AOT says". The Nation. Bangkok. Retrieved 15 Oct 2012. 
  19. ^ "Don Mueang's T2 set for B3bn makeover | Bangkok Post: business". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2018-01-15. 
  20. ^ "PM toughens zero-dollar purge". Bangkok Post. 26 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  21. ^ Intharagsa, Rachanon (2015-12-24). "Busy traffic at Don Mueang's Terminal 2". The Nation. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  22. ^ "Twitter". 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2018-01-15. 
  23. ^ "Thai AirAsia adds Bangkok – Johor Bahru from Feb 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-01-15. 
  24. ^ "AirAsia launches daily Don Mueang-Ranong route". Retrieved 2018-01-15. 
  25. ^ "Thai Lion Air further delays Kochi launch to 1Q18". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-01-15. 
  26. ^ "Thai Lion Air files Kunming preliminary schedule in Oct 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ a b c d "Thai Lion Air adds new scheduled charter service to China from late-Sep 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 2 October 2017. 
  30. ^ Kositchotethana, Boonsong (2016-02-01). "AoT airports set new record in passenger traffic". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  31. ^ a b "Traffic Report 2016 - AOT (DMK Page 11)" (PDF). Airports of Thailand PCL. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  32. ^ Home page. Siam Air. Retrieved on October 26, 2016. "CONTACT INFO Address : Siam Air Transport Co.,Ltd. 222 Room 2323 P Vibhavadi – Rangsit Road Donmueang International Airport, Donmueang, Bangkok, Thailand 10210"
  33. ^ "Headquarter." [sic] R Airlines. Retrieved on 27 January 2013.
  34. ^ "14 JUN 1972 Douglas DC-8-53 Japan Air Lines – JAL." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  35. ^ "Death Toll in Air Disasters Heavy." United Press International via Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. Thursday 15 June 1972. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  36. ^ "L2-41/15/210 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 


  • Bangkok Post, All flights must use new airport from 28 September 19 June 2006
  • Flight International,[1] The airport is presently using the IATA airport code DMK, while Suvarnabhumi Airport has inherited its previous code BKK. Flyer Talk,[2] 26 August 2006.

External links[edit]

Media related to Don Muang International Airport at Wikimedia Commons
Don Muang Airport travel guide from Wikivoyage

  1. ^ [2][dead link]
  2. ^ Suvarnabhumi – latest news. Important. – Page 3 – FlyerTalk Forums. (20 July 2006). Retrieved on 25 August 2013.