Gone is the crush and the crowding. The new system was introduced at the weekend by the facility's managers, Airports of Thailand Phuket Director Prathuang Somkhom said today.
It's the second real sign that Phuket is on the verge of reforms to its monopolistic taxi and tuk-tuk transport system. The first sign came recently with the establishment of the Airport-Patong bus.
''Only three vehicles from each of the three taxi groups who have access are being allowed in the gate at any time,'' Khun Prathuang told Phuketwan today.
Illegal ''black'' taxis are being excluded entirely.
''We can't get in any more,'' one illegal cabbie told Phuketwan today. ''That means I will be finished because I won't be able to make a payment on my vehicle this month.''
Legitimate vehicles registered with the limo, taxi or metered taxi groups are now queuing in a no-parking strip that runs back along the main road, near the airport entrance.
Gone are the taxi drivers soliciting business outside and inside the airport building. Gone is the crush of taxis in the main access road outside the main terminal.
''We've done this because there is no space,'' Khun Prathuang said. ''And with construction of the new terminal underway, we have a hectic timetable to maintain.''
A temporary terminal is being erected at a cost of 145 million baht that will provide 10 check-in counters and two luggage scanners.
The temporary terminal is expected to be built and open by early January, he said, with charter passengers likely to be the regular users.
''Last year the number of flights to and from Phuket rose by 24.92 percent,'' he said. ''International flights roseby 33.11 percent.
''International passenger numbers jumped 28.34 percent in July,'' he added.
Forty airlines are now using the Phuket facility. The number of flights a day has risen by 25.30 percent to 192.