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Phuket chases Singapore style progress, with a gap to leap

Phuket Overseas Traffic Soars, Stresses Airport

Monday, March 7, 2011
FORECASTS of three times the number of tourists coming to Phuket within 10 years are, on current projections, not far-fetched. February overseas arrivals and departures through overcrowded Phuket International Airport show a year-on-year increase of 25.10 percent.

The figures confirm that Phuket's air gateway continues to operate under stress, with some departing passengers heading for neighboring countries forced to endure delays longer than their flights.

The total of 1,876,466 international passengers coming and going between October and February - Phuket's pre-high and peak high season - was 31.46 percent up on the previous comparable period.

The total number - 3,633,411 - is only 14.15 percent up because domestic passenger numbers are virtually static. The Phuket boom is purely catering for overseas travellers.

International passenger arrivals and departures through Phuket in January also surged by 29.61 percent, so 2011 has started by appearing likely to burst the 2010 record tally of 7,043,783 total passengers. The 7,043,783 figure compared with 5,779,918 for 2009.

Overall in 2010, international arrivals and departures by air on Phuket were up by a massive 45.90 percent. The surge continues to swell. So do the obstructions in accessing or exiting Phuket airport.

The tally of 843,877 passengers in February arrived or departed on 4965 flights. It is believed 5000 flights a month would represent a new milestone for Phuket.

International flights in February surpassed domestic flights, and international passenger numbers also surpassed domestic numbers - something that rarely happens.

Whether Phuket could cope with passenger numbers trebling in the next 10 years rests with Airports of Thailand, which has yet to confirm a starting date for the 5.8 billion baht expansion of the airport that could take the maximum number of Phuket passengers to 12.5 million or even 15 million by 2014.

On a visit to Phuket last year, the President of Airports of Thailand, Serirat Prasutanond, said that the expansion of Phuket airport would be finished by March, 2014. This forecast was based on construction beginning in January 2011.
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Arrival and departure from Phuket International Airport are for all passengers travelling mostly to the three southern provinces of Phuket, Phang-Nga and Krabi.

Many tourists coming through Phuket International airport will not spend one-Baht in Phuket and will go straight to Khao Lak or Krabi beaches.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on March 7, 2011 16:19


Chaos at the airport this morning with a 2 row queue of cars, buses and mini buses lining up to drop people off at the departure area. Dropped my sister off 2 hours before her Air Asia flight to KL to catch an interconnecting UK flight. She had already checked in online and only just got on her flight. Huge hold ups at immigration and baggage security. Several passengers missed the same flight to KL.

Posted by Harry on March 7, 2011 17:27

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