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Phuket appears to be becoming popular at the expense of Bangkok

Phuket 'Preferred to Bangkok' says Air Centre

Monday, August 17, 2009
BANGKOK may be losing out to Phuket and other secondary gateways in Thailand, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation concludes in its latest survey of air traffic statistics.

V Australia's announcement that it will launch direct services to Phuket from Melbourne and Brisbane later this year could reflect a growing trend of airlines (and passengers) wishing to avoid the Bangkok hub, the centre concludes.

Even with Air Asia planning to make Phuket an international hub before the year's end, Phuketwan's view is that it's too early to tell.

While it's certainly true that Phuket and Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai are doing better than Bangkok compared to last year, the advent of new flights is more likely to reflect airline analysis of potential markets than a general Bangkok turn-off.

Even with residual political uncertainty and an airport scam scandal, Bangkok remains an appealing tourist destination in its own right, and as a vital entry point for many visitors to Samui and Pattaya.

Australians tend to opt for Phuket in greater numbers simply because it's closer and more economical than Bangkok. To fly to the capital then back down to Phuket involves extra time and money.

Long-haul flights from Britain and the rest of Europe, however, still tend to target the capital, although many will fly south at some stage to Phuket.

Where Phuket may be succeeding is in the regeneration of charter flights from China and Korea. It may be true in the case of travellers from those countries and from Japan that Phuket is a more acceptable destination.

Travellers who do their research quickly learn that Phuket airport remained open and served as an escape route for many passengers who were stranded in Thailand by the November invasion of the capital's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

There is also the knowledge that, based on July's protest-free Asean summit on the island, Phuket at present appears to be more secure as a destination than either Bangkok or Pattaya, which suffered from the street rebellion and resort invasion in April.

Fortunately 12 months on, the three-day closure of Phuket airport has not lingered as long in most memories.

Phuket does seem to be bouncing back more rapidly than Suvarnabhumi. But there are also upward limits on the amount of new flights that Phuket can accept.

While expansion plans are in place, Phuket airport came close to capacity with almost six million passengers in 2008. Phuket is not going to be able to suddenly absorb huge chunks of extra traffic from the capital.

It will be a case of the airlines that win permission to access Phuket reaping the benefits as tourism numbers return.

As we've previously reported, the Christmas-New Year peak season on Phuket will be the appropriate viewpoint to not only look back on the valleys of 2009 but also accurately gaze out over the prospects for all of 2010.

Airports of Thailand (AoT), operator of the countrys major international airports, reported a 6.3 percent year-on-year reduction in passenger numbers in July. International traffic at Suvarnabhumi was down 12.9 percent last month compared to a 1 percent increase last July.

The centre reports that allowing for seasonal changes, the reality is that growth over the next few months could be little changed from 2007 levels.

Aviation writer Ben Sandilands reports on today that the new routes will lift average daily flight hours by the V Australia 777-300ERs to 17 hours a day, equal to or better than the same type yields for Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates, and about four hours a day more revenue service than Qantas claims for its aging 747-400 fleet.

As well as posing a new challenge to Qantas, Sandilands says flights from Melbourne and Brisbane mean an end to Sydney Airport transfers from its domestic to international sides which ''are like the Berlin Wall used to be for getting from one side of Berlin to the other, but minus the barbed wire and machine guns.''

Phuketwan Phuket News

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Oh my God, if the authorities are going to up the number of flights to and from Phuket they are going to have to do some serious re-organizing at the airport. Even the car park, on a quiet day, can be a nightmare to navigate and exit.

The security at the entrances is inadequate, too.

Then there is the Immigration fiasco. When are they going to implement a '1 queue' system? It is the only fair way to go seeing as how the officials efficiency varies so much, if the person in front has a problem or if the official just decides to leave - and then there is the extra official just coming out and there is a mad rush to his counter!

PLEASE...... ONE BIG QUEUE and then head off to the individual counters.

Posted by peter on August 17, 2009 19:47

Monday September 25, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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