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No New Phuket Terminal Before 2015, Says Airports Chief

Thursday, January 5, 2012
PHUKET: Construction to expand Phuket International Airport will not be complete until March 2015 at the earliest, Airports of Thailand Vice President Prathuang Sornkhom confirmed today.

''The design of the airport will not be finalised until the middle of this year,'' he told Phuketwan. ''The timetable for what can be done depends on the design being finished first.''

Phuket International Airport, built to handle 6.5 million arrivals and departures, is expected to exceed eight million in the calendar year 2011 as visitors endure queues coming and going at peak times.

Concerns are being expressed about how the airport will cope between 2012 and 2015 if the trend to increased arrivals and departures continues to grow at more than 20 percent a year.

Even with completion of the runway extension and a new international terminal in March 2015, relief may not last very long.

Airports of Thailand managing director Flight Lieutenant Anirut Thanombutr said last week that the new Phuket facility is expected to reach its maximum capacity of 12.5 million passengers arriving and departing Phuket in 2018.

No announcement has yet been made about how increased air traffic to Phuket will be managed beyond 2018.

The design of the new terminal is expected to incorporate double-glazed glass viewing areas so those inside can more easily watch Phuket takeoffs and landings.

Comments

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Thailand and Thai people have many commendable characteristics but sadly planning ahead is not one of them.

The concept of future rarely extends beyond the next meal or beer.

The airport is like a water fountain on which the vast majority of Phuket businesses rely.

Choke its capacity to handle passengers and the whole island will feel the consequences.

Personally I'd be over the moon if the tourist numbers were cut by 75%.

Posted by Steve C. on January 5, 2012 17:50

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3 years to have a terminal which will already likely to reach full capacity right away? Should be plenty of time to expand the vision, extend the runway into the bay and over Thepkasattri road and think 20 years down the line, not three..

Posted by Mister Ree on January 5, 2012 18:52

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Why do they need to expand the airport at all? If you believe many of the posters here, Phuket will soon be empty of expats and tourists because of all the problems with jet skis, tuk-tuks, dangerous driving, over pricing, etc.

Posted by Rs on January 5, 2012 20:06

Editor Comment:

''If you believe many of the posters here . .'' Do you, Rs? Many of them grieve for the Phuket that vanished 10 years ago. Others are just unhappy with their life choices.

The rest are fine.

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It's called sarcasm Ed. My business is up 70% over last year. The type of tourists (and expats) change but they just keep on coming.

Posted by Rs on January 5, 2012 22:15

Editor Comment:

Sarcasm doesn't work in print, Rs. You have to hear the intonation to know what's meant.


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