Well, surprise, surprise, and knock me down with a feather. It appears that Suvarnabhumi airport opened too soon, and may now face partial closure for extensive repairs. This comes as a shock to no one who has followed the strange saga of the new airport since its site was earmarked some 40 years ago. It was blindingly obvious that the place was nowhere near ready for operations when the first flight took off on September 28. Even more obvious, what should be one of Thailand's proudest accomplishments was about to become a global laughing stock - and a monument to the overweening ego of the man who demanded its early opening: deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Indeed, why not give the place a catchier name? No one can pronounce 'Suvarnabhumi', and 'Thaksin's Folly' has a pithier ring. Or perhaps: 'The Baggage Black Hole.' At least five of my friends have had bags disappear into the gaping maw of the place, not to be seen again for days. One unfortunate colleague managed to have her bag lost in its labyrinth twice in as many days on a business trip to Jakarta. Now, nobody checks in luggage if they can avoid it. According to Deputy Transport Minister Sansem Wongcha-Um, parts of the airport will need to be closed down for lengthy repairs, and the old airport at Don Muang may have to be reopened to take up the slack. This follows an investigation by the new Airports of Thailand regulatory body, set up since the September coup. The investigation found widespread sub-standard construction, poor management and manipulation of design and materials, incomplete information technology facilities, and upper floors of the car parks built without drains, causing rain run-off to pour down elevator shafts. More than 1,000 lamps have burned out and not been replaced, adding to the dingy and unfinished feeling of the place. It has created a climate of fear among airport staff, with rumours swirling of rapes and robberies in dark corners. Still, at least it appears that the chickens may at last be coming home to roost for Mr Thaksin - should he pluck up the courage to return to Thailand from self-imposed exile in London. An investigation by the Assets Scrutiny Committee sparked accusations that Mr Thaksin, a former transport minister and 20 other people broke the law in hiring contractors to install the airport's baggage handling system and bomb-scanner machines. They allegedly profited by hiring inexperienced contractors and accepting their massively overpriced quotations. On a personal note, I can say that the new airport has changed my life. I have the misfortune to live near it, and the traffic has become so bad that, in the new year, I am moving back into town. That is one trip I am looking forward to.