Five Billion Bath Upgrade For Phuket Airport

Airports of
Thailand Plc (AoT) is preparing to invest five billion baht to expand Phuket International
Airport
where congestion
is approaching a critical level.
    TUI Nordic,
a leading Scandinavian tour operator, has said that its guests had to spend one
hour or more to go through airport procedures during the last winter season,
adding that crowding had become more critical since 2006.Phuket tourism
industry executives have also warned that airport congestion would spoil the
first impression of the island as one of the region’s prime holiday
destination.
    The
expansion will raise the capacity of the country’s second busiest airport to
11.5 million passengers a year, six million international and 5.5 million
domestic, from the current annual limit of 6.5 million, once completed in 2010.
    The plan
involves a new international passenger terminal, the upgrade of the domestic
terminal, construction of additional taxiways and parking space for 11 more
aircraft, up from eight currently.
    However,
the airport’s single 3,000- metre runway will not be extended, according to
Phuket airport general manager Wicha Nernlop.
    Passenger
throughput in Phuket last year reached 5.47 million, 22.6% higher than in the
previous year, while aircraft movements rose 32.3% to 38,386.
    This year,
AoT projects a 9.5% rise in passenger throughput to six million, with aircraft
traffic, both take-offs and landings, increasing 7% to 41,000.
    Between
March and October, Phuket serves 27 scheduled airlines and 11 charter flight
operators, with average daily plane movements of 120.
    Congestion
at the airport, especially during the high season from late October to April,
has been a subject of complaints by international tourists, mostly from Europe, who flock to the southern resort island.

 


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