A series of budget overruns, construction flaws and political interference is plaguing the project. The airport is supposed to replace the current, overloaded and unexpandable Don Muang Airport entirely.
The future airport is located in Nong Ngu Hao (Cobra Swamp) in Samut Prakan province, some 30 kilometers east of Bangkok. The plot of land for the airport was purchased back in 1973, but the Thammasat student uprising on October 14 succeeded in overthrowing the military government of dictator Thanom Kittikachorn and the project was shelved. After a series of ups and downs, the "New Bangkok International Airport" company was formed in 1996, but due to political and economic chaos (notably the Asian economic crisis of 1997) it took another 6 years for construction to start.
The airport will have 2 runways with a planned final capacity of 76 flights per hour and 45 million passengers per year, although the first phase of construction will only permit 30 million. Long-term plans for four runways with a theoretical capacity of up to 100 million are on the drawing board.