Travelers Crowd Don Muang for Songkran Homecoming Flights

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A tide of hopeful passengers crowded into recently reopened Don Muang Airport Thursday morning with a larger number expected to use air services for upcountry tourism and homecoming trips this year, on the eve of Thailand's annual Songkran New Year festival.

Local residents and tourists alike came to board flights at Don Muang in the morning in larger numbers than usual. Some are Bangkok workers heading home to the provinces to be reunited with their families and celebrate the Songkran festival at home this year.

Most flights of three airlines based here -- including Thai Airways International, Nok Air, and Orient Thai -- bound for Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, and Phuket have been loaded almost to capacity.

It is expected that the largest number of travelers will be going by air for the Sonkran celebration, especially Thursday evening. Many airlines have increased the number of flights to accommodate more passengers throughout the Songkran period.

At Don Muang airport, the number of flights has risen by 40 per day.

Of this, 22 are international flights with 11 outbound and 11 inbound, and 18 are domestic flights with nine outbound and nine inbound.

It is projected the number of passengers at Don Muang would increase by over 7,000 during the Songkran period. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, the number of flights has increased by 424 per day. Of this, 369 are international flights with 183 outbound and 186 inbound, and 55 are domestic flights with 28 outbound and 27 inbound.

It is expected that the number of passengers at Suvarnabhumi would rise by over 65,000. It brings up the number of passengers at two airports by 72,000 altogether in the Songkran festival.

Security measures at the two airports will be stepped up as police and security officials of the Airports of Thailand Plc will be on alert around the clock.