sqpax
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:52 pm

Farewell To Don Muang

Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:42 pm

As I write this, the Bangkok International Airport at Don Muang is about eight hours from officially closing to commercial traffic. After over 40 years of planning, delays, construction, more delays, the new Bangkok International Airport at Suvarnabhumi will be handed the torch at 3:00am Thursday, September 28 and take over from the classic old lady at Don Muang.

I have flown in or out of the old BKK ten times and had the opportunity to shoot there as a photographer on several occasions. The old airport has given me many memories that will stay with me forever.

I will never forget my first time there in September, 2003. Such a classic old terminal, the hustle, the bustle......my first impression of South East Asia! I remember being dazed, feeling lost and confused with the crowds in the arrival hall. And I will never forget my last and most recent time there in May, 2006. Saying goodbye to my koo rak outside the International Terminal on a steamy, muggy Sunday night. And all of the times in between!

A new chapter in commercial aviation begins in a few hours and while I am sure NBK and all of its modern features will grow on me, I will sure miss the old airport at Don Muang. I do, however, look forward to arriving at Suvarnabhumi in about two weeks and returning to the Land of Smiles. Goodbye to Don Muang.
"One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble, not much between despair and ecstasy" - Murray Head 1984
 
Carpethead
Posts: 2563
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:15 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:00 pm

I have been through Don Muang many times as well.
The last few visits have been at the beginning of the new year when the military aprons are open to the public. I am not sure I will go next year.

In regards to the new airport, I am not even going near the place until the bugs are worked out, which could take a long time if 'Thai time' is in full effect.
 
christao17
Posts: 902
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:01 pm

A group of friends are heading out to Don Meuang this evenings to celebrate. Oddly, none of them are really aviation enthusiasts nor have worked for the airlines, so I'm not clear what they're going to do.

Plus, reports in local newspapers have said that many shops and restaurants are having a difficult time staying staffed as employees quite to begin their new jobs over at Suvarnabhumi.

A couple I know is leaving Spain in just a few hours and will arrive on one of the first flights at the new airport. Should be fun! Glad I'm not there to get caught in the mess.
Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
 
christao17
Posts: 902
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:04 pm

Article from the TNA website, one of the news agencies here that publishes the English-language daily, The Nation:

No fanfare for Don Muang close
BANGKOK, Sept 4 (TNA) - There will be no major ceremonies for Don Muang International Airport when it closes on September 27 after more than eight decades of service.

Instead, officials will host a religious ceremony on the last day in honour of Field Marshall Prince Chakrabpongse Bhuvanath of Phitsanulok, the founding father of aviation in Thailand.

On September 27, many airport employees will be involved with moving efforts, according to Airports of Thailand Public Co., Ltd. (AOT) President Chotisak Asapaviriya, all essential equipment and gear is expected to be at the new facility by September 28 when Suvarnabhumi Airport takes over as Bangkok’s international airport.

AOT is closely coordinating the transport of equipment from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi with all partner agencies, including the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AEROTHAI), the Department of Aviation and national carrier Thai Airways International (THAI).

For airlines that can not complete the move to Suvarnabhumi in time for the September 28 opening, the AOT will allow the companies to use storage facilities at Don Muang rent free for three months. (TNA)-E007



Last Update : 2006-09-04 / 14:45:19 (GMT+7:00)
Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
 
surrenr
Posts: 80
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:38 pm

I just flew from Don Muang to TPE today and thye closed the closest runway to the terminal so all departing and arriving flights had to use the farther runway which meant I was sitting in my KLM 747 for 30 minutes waiting for takeoff to Taipei
 
SeeTheWorld
Posts: 1090
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 2:46 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:42 pm

I have flown in and out several times myself, and while it's always sad to see an airport close (Denver Stapleton was my childhood airport that my father, a UA pilot flew from during his career), new airports are generally a good thing. I will always remember Don Muang in connection with 9/11. We were scheduled to fly out the morning of September 12, 2001 to HKG-YVR-JFK after a wonderful trip to Bangkok and Koh Samui. We were stuck in Bangkok until Saturday, September 15 when we made the mad dash from BKK up to HKG and we able to get on the first departing flight from HKG to the U.S. as the airspace reopened. Spending 9/11 and the three following days in Bangkok were trying, but the Thai people were so empathetic and so accommodating. It certainly made the confusion and uncertainty and horror much more bearable.
 
standby87
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 2:33 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:57 am

Arriving in Don Muang (after a short airside transit in Tokyo) was my first experience of Asia in December 1988.

I couldn't believe the contrast from the inner calm to the heat, noise, and pollution outside.

That moment of stepping outside "into Asia" and being inundandated with offers for "taxi, taxi" still stays with me.

Adios Don Muang.

Edited:
PS. SQPAX - Actually you will never land at NBK:

According IATA/OAG instructions:

NBK disappears tonight.

The new airport is renamed to BKK - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Muang becomes DMK - Don Muang Airport.
Are you confused? We had to think a little as well!

[Edited 2006-09-27 18:06:34]

[Edited 2006-09-27 18:11:17]
 
Lufthansa747
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 7:45 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:11 am

Don Muang has probably been the airport I've used the most apart from my former home airport HEL.

My first arrival in Asia was also at Don Muang, 26APR00 TG 961 from Arlanda on HS-TGK. We docked at a remote stand and the heat when walking down the stairs at 6am was unbelievable for me back then.

I guess TG's last domestic has departed to CNX, and the last domestic has landed:

TG 216 Phuket 27/9/2006 2300 2240 3 3 Landed

Last TG internationals will be:

Dep: TG 662 Pudong 28/9/2006 0145 1 22 Check in row-3
Arr: TG 657 Seoul 28/9/2006 0035 1 1

As many memories as I have from Don Muang, I'm looking forward to Suvarnabhumi, and it's also much more convenient for us. Passing NBK two days ago in a taxi, it took 18 mins to our apartment (mond you the driver tried to crash the car about 25 times between Pattaya and Bangkok...).

Also, there's a bus stop for a direct aircon bus to NBK right outside our apartment building.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
Lufthansa747
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 7:45 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:29 am

30 minutes till TG 662 to PVG is scheduled to depart - champagne flowing at the gate. From the live footage it looks like HS-TEK (the last Royal Barge) will be operating it. A very appropriate A330 indeed if so. Just thought somebody might be interested.

List of the remaining flights after TG is done at Don Muang:

MU 548 Pudong 28/9/2006 0155 2 44 Check in row-9
CI 065 Amsterdam 28/9/2006 0155 2 32 Check in row-12
OZ 744 Incheon 28/9/2006 0200 1 26 Check in row-7
ET 607 Addis Ababa 28/9/2006 0200 1 35 Check in row-5
KE 662 Busan 28/9/2006 0205 1 31 Check in row-8
CI 067 Rome 28/9/2006 0225 2 33 Check in row-14
EK 419 Dubai 28/9/2006 0230 2 46 Check in row-11
KU 414 Kuwait 28/9/2006 0300 2 43 Check in row-14

EK is early from Sydney, KU is on time from Jakarta, so it looks like KU 414 Jakarta-Bangkok-Kuwait will be the last one to depart Don Muang since it's supposed to close at 3am.
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VTBDflyer
Posts: 341
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:12 am

Good bye, Don Muang. So far, I haven't heard about Suvarnabhumi's status and how traffic flow is. My grandparents are here in MKE for a visit. They left out of Don Muang and will return to Suvarnabhumi on October 3. Quite a change of scenery.  Wink

VTBDflyer
VTBSflyer at heart Big grin
Fly Thai
 
tundra767
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:33 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:39 am

Cant wait to try the new airport the old one was a real dump.
 
sqpax
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:52 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:17 am

Quoting Tundra767 (Reply 10):
Cant wait to try the new airport the old one was a real dump.

What a terrible thing to say about the old airport! It was epic, so full of character and had a personality of its own. It may not have been modern but it had a pulse, a heartbeat! Sorry Tundra, Don Muang was awesome!
"One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble, not much between despair and ecstasy" - Murray Head 1984
 
utapao
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:25 am

Quoting Tundra767 (Reply 10):
the old one was a real dump

Not many around that are 92 years old and still operating as well as it did. They had actually done a good deal of face-lift in some of the concourses.

First arrival, per one news source:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...tory/0,20867,20489928-1702,00.html

Lufthansa cargo flight LH 8442 from Frankfurt via Mumbai touched down at 6.02am (AEST) at the airport, the air control tower said.
Sawasdee khrab!
 
NewYorkCityBoi
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:33 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:45 am

I love Donmuang Airport very much... Classic terminal.. I still remember those college time that I spent 3 times a week spoting planes back in late 90's.... Even my university is in downtown. The next time going back to Thailand, there will me no such an atmosphere... busy airport, surrounded by tollway, highway, market, temple.... but will be modern airport terminal surrounded by runways... just like most other airports.

Donmuang is the airport I used the most.. and feel really related to it... had a lot of memories about how civil aviation catched my interests when I was a kid, the first flight in my life.. etc.

My second/third freq. airport is ATL and JFK... and there are not many place at all to spot the plane from the terminal if you are not a passenger in those airports
 
AirlineBrat
Posts: 483
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:40 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:44 pm

I am glad I had a chance to fly through Don Muang several times last May. First arriving from Hong Kong (and LAX) on CX. After clearing customs, I had to find my way through the hidden maze of elevators and passageways while searching for the Domestic Terminal. It was a fun adventure. The domestic terminal was small and packed with people, ticket counters and food booths. I had over 2 hours to wait before my next flight so I sat outside near the bus stop and watched the pouring rain and thunder while people tried to sneak their cars and vans into impossibly tight spaces. Those were my first moments in Thailand and I was awestruck. Then it was off on PG to Samui and Phuket. After 2 weeks I was back at Don Muang once again. By then I had the layout of the airport figured out. Two days later I was returned one more time as I was catching another CX flight to HKG and TPE. I will never forget the 80 baht van ride from Khao San back to Don Muang via the roadway under the tollway. The driver was trying to make up time and we nearly collided into countless cars and busses. When we pulled up to the departures level I kissed the ground suprised that I was still alive. I had several hours before my flight so I had a chance to explore the airside of the the terminal with all the shops that seemed to repeat every 500 feet. Terminals 1, 2 and the domestic terminal must have been at least 1 mile long in total. Like Thailand, it was chaotic and full of life. Although the new airport has beautiful architecture, it will just not be the same.

[Edited 2006-09-28 05:49:00]
I'm leavin on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again....
 
Lufthansa747
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 7:45 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:11 pm

I find it funny they let QF take off after KU although KU 414 was supposed to be the last one.

It was blatantly obvious TG 662 to PVG was delayed "to save face" (was announced the last TG flight), it pushed back after looking ready for half an hour, about a minute after the delayed TG 960 to Stockholm Arlanda (HS-TGW) finally left...

I wonder why both QF and BA were hours late to LHR.
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threekay76
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:43 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:27 pm

Adios Don Mueang. i was there twice this year (MAA-BKK-MAA), must accept it is a paradise for aviation enthusiasts. Also the golf course between two runways was something which is very unique to Don Mueang

[Edited 2006-09-28 07:34:52]
 
KhunRyeroam
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:20 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:45 pm

Chaiyo...(Bravo in Thai)

I'm so happy that Suvarnabhumi finally opened. That would give me a reason to visit Thailand this winter.

 champagne 
THAI MAK MAK---TOTALLY THAI---TOUT Ã? FAIT THAÃ? ---MUY, MUY TAILANDÃ?S
 
nethkt
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 10:27 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:11 pm

I went to the new airport the other day, I was thinking if this is Siam Paragon (our hi-class shopping center).

I will be there again today and tomorrow. Wish me good luck. There are so many cool stuffs in the new airport  Smile come see!!  Wink
Let's just blame it on yields.
 
ANITIX87
Posts: 2952
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:45 pm

Bittersweet, indeed.

Will the BKK code be kept?

TIS
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Airbus A380
Posts: 508
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:47 pm

I had the chance to use Suvarnabhumi when I went to BKK last week. Upon disembarkation, I noticed that the pillars and floorings are bare cement. Are they going to put some tiles on it, or that is the original design?

My return flight also departed from Suvarnabhumi. While I was impressed that the terminal building is huge, I am particularly not so when I entered the Departure Hall. Hundreds of workers were still scrambling to install and assemble furnitures. The air was so dusty and smoky, I can hardly breathe. Plus the airconditioning can hardly be felt. If the contractors can complete all their jobs before today (28th Sept), kudos to them. However I doubt so.

One question still lingers. Why don't they really complete everything, the facade and all, before opening it to the public? It was a real health and safety hazard being in that Departure hall that day!

Good luck to Suvarnabhumi and its future success!
 
Lufthansa747
Posts: 2953
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:10 pm

Quoting Airbus A380 (Reply 20):
Why don't they really complete everything, the facade and all, before opening it to the public?

Because a certain individual decided he wants to open it one year late from the original date (Sep 28 2005 when they had a couple of test flights)... He's probably reading about the opening in some London newspaper soon  Wink
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
KhunRyeroam
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:20 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:17 pm

Quoting Airbus A380 (Reply 20):
Why don't they really complete everything, the facade and all, before opening it to the public?

I believe one of the reasons cited by Thaksin was that each day they pay millions of dollars of interest to institutions that funded the project, many of which are foreign governments. So, even if it's not 100% complete, why not open it and make some money to pay off the debt? One doesn't expect to move into a new house that is perfectly decorated and functional. Anyhow, that's my two cents worth.
THAI MAK MAK---TOTALLY THAI---TOUT Ã? FAIT THAÃ? ---MUY, MUY TAILANDÃ?S
 
je89_w
Crew
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RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:58 pm

I have also had some great memories from Don Muang Airport. Walking up and down the long concourse made for some good exercise . . . and photo ops. The condition of the airport is really good for being so old!

At least Don Muang will still be there, unlike Kai Tak, which now has buildings and other things on it.

Then again, can't wait to fly through the new Suvarnabhumi Airport!
 
joffie
Posts: 814
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:45 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:54 pm

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 19):
Will the BKK code be kept?

I sorta read here that it will be...which means Johan must update Big grin
 
BritPilot777
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:05 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:20 pm

What was the first airline to fly into the new airport and with what equipment?

BP777
Forever Flight
 
UpperDeck79
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:14 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:20 pm

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 15):
I find it funny they let QF take off after KU although KU 414 was supposed to be the last one.

Is this info actually accurate? I can't find any QF flight that would have left that late from BKK...

qantas.com.au:

Quote:

Bangkok International on Thursday, 28 September 2006 at 00:00 hrs.

QF1 Heathrow 00:45 Departed 01:21
QF301 Heathrow 00:20 Departed 01:50 operated by British Airways
QF302 Sydney 18:15 (Tue) Departed 02:55 (Thu) operated by British Airways
AY and ANA rock!
 
RoyalOrchid773
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 11:13 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:57 pm

Farewell to Don Muang as well.

I was at the airport last night to pick up my uncle, then I spotted a number of TG as well as the AOT employees were busy taking photos of the last day. TG staff (flight attendants, cargo staff, ground staff etc.) lined up and sang the "Suvarnabhumi" songs written by TG staffs. It was truly a bittersweet moment!

The airport was hustle as usual until the final time approached. HS-TEK was indeed the aircraft utilized on TG662 BKK-PVG last night. TG staffs were at Gate22 waving good-bye to the last TG flight ever at Don Muang despite heavy rain. Funny enough, I went to Suvarnabhumi airport this noon and saw HS-TEK parked at a remote stand near concourse A...finally home from PVG.

The first flight landed at Suvarnabhumi was Lufthansa M11F from Mumbai. However, the first passenger flight was AeroSvit VV171 from Kiev using B763. Passengers were warmly greeted by the airport staff, but had to wait for their luggages for 2 HOURS!

The first day of operation sees a number of critical problems. TG check-in system was down until noon when it was fully recovered. In the mean time, they used the "manual" system. All planes were approximately 30-45 minutes delay. Next was the baggage handling system. As mentioned, a lot of passengers had to wait about 1-4 hours to retrieve their baggages. TG222 HKT-BKK was affected the most since its passengers had to wait for 4 hours until the first baggage showed up on the carousel. A round of applause was given! Taxi stands were not enough to accommodate passengers, but the officials are working on it to install more and recruit more taxis to pick up passengers. However, there're still a lot of space left at the car park building though.

Oh well, since it's the first day of operation, it's acceptable. Hoping that all problems will be urgently solved, as the airport is set to be the "World's Newest Crossroad"

Farewell to Don Muang, Sawasdee Suvarnabhumi!
 
Lufthansa747
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 7:45 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:12 pm

Quoting UpperDeck79 (Reply 26):
Is this info actually accurate? I can't find any QF flight that would have left that late from BKK...

It's not I assume. KU was supposed to be the last one, and the reporter said it was QF 1 after it which it obviously wasn't.

Quoting UpperDeck79 (Reply 26):
QF302 Sydney 18:15 (Tue) Departed 02:55 (Thu) operated by British Airways

This flight is BA 9, the time matches... Did QF operate it on behalf of BA due to some problems?? They have the JSA to Australia after all.

The last plane taking off was definitely a QF 744, it was shown live. But what it operated - seems to be a mystery.

Quoting RoyalOrchid773 (Reply 27):
As mentioned, a lot of passengers had to wait about 1-4 hours to retrieve their baggages.

And a lot of passengers left without theirs. Apparently one flight left with about half of BKK origin bags, none of the transit bags made it.

The funniest thing I read was a leak in the roof...Due to heavy rain. Well, I haven't seen light rain in BKK, so hope it will be solved.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
UpperDeck79
Posts: 1062
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:14 pm

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:58 pm

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 28):
The last plane taking off was definitely a QF 744, it was shown live. But what it operated - seems to be a mystery.

You saw the live feed? So if it actually was a QF aircraft operating the joint BA/QF service which was more than 30 hours (!) late and departed at 2:50 a.m., did the KU flight depart ahead of scheduled time (3:00 a.m.)?
AY and ANA rock!
 
Lufthansa747
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 7:45 am

RE: Farewell To Don Muang

Fri Sep 29, 2006 4:40 pm

Quoting UpperDeck79 (Reply 29):
You saw the live feed?

Yes indeed.

Quoting UpperDeck79 (Reply 29):
So if it actually was a QF aircraft operating the joint BA/QF service which was more than 30 hours (!) late and departed at 2:50 a.m

Interesting...

Quoting UpperDeck79 (Reply 29):
did the KU flight depart ahead of scheduled time (3:00 a.m.)?

Yes, took off about a minute before the QF 744.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium

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