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Aircraft are also facing lack of space at Phuket International Airport

Phuket's Full House: Aircraft Being Told There's No Parking

Monday, October 10, 2011
PHUKET: Aircraft wishing to stay overnight at Phuket International Airport are now being told to fly to other regional airports to park as the boom in flights stretches Phuket's capacity.

The revelation of the scale of the crush at the Phuket facility comes with the number of flights in and out of Phuket rising to 160 a day this week - and national carrier Air China announcing four weekly ''direct rotations'' from Beijing to Phuket from November 18.

Officials at Phuket airport could not immediately confirm the additional Beijing-Phuket flights, announced in a media release from Bejing. But all airlines do have until the end of this month to submit their new high-season schedules.

Motorists parking at the Phuket airport are used to the car park being packed tight but Phuketwan was able to confirm today that the same situation applies with aircraft.

The owners of private jets seeking space on Phuket are being told to try airports at Krabi or Trang if they wish to park overnight. Major airlines are now being told the same thing, according to Phuket airport's Deputy Director, Thanee Choochoing.

The Phuket International Airport was built for a maximum of 6.5 million passengers but exceeded that limit with seven million in 2010 and appears set to burst beyond eight million visitors in 2011.

The surge in Phuket passengers is stressing the obsolete facility during a critical rebuilding period designed to lift capacity to 12.5 million by November 2014 - yet with arrivals and departures likely to continue to soar before the new terminal and additional parking bays are added.

''We usually allow charter airlines to park at the airport,'' Khun Thanee said. ''They usually have a turn-around time of several days. Other aircraft usually have less reason to be on Phuket overnight, so we have to urge a speedy turnaround.''

It has been revealed that the airport's obsolete facilities will be expanded as best as possible to cope with Phuket's soaring popularity, and that some flights will require ''bus gates'' taking passengers to and from aircraft parked on the tarmac.

Hard-working Phuket staff have enabled the airport to function beyond its limits but passengers caught in some of the delays that arise during peak periods are likely to choose better-equipped destinations for their next holiday adventure.

There were 4296 flights to and from Phuket in September, well up on last year but considerably less than the January 2011 figure of 5142, which was an increase of 13.66 percent in 12 months. The year-on-year increase is now approaching 20 percent.

Phuket may struggle to cope with demand sooner rather than later if growth continues at that rate. Despite the crush, airlines keep wanting to come to Phuket in numbers.

The Air China announcement of four flights a week from next month says: ''Hailed as a gem on the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean, Phuket Island is a tourist-centric destination that draws a crowd with its unique culture, clean air and sophisticated tourism infrastructure. It is best visited from November to April, especially in winter months.''


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Sophisticated tourism infrastructure? Could you indicate where in Phuket this is located? I'd like to pay it a visit and marvel at its sophistication. Or did they mean "sophistry" rather than "sophistication"?

Posted by Urban Sophisticate on October 10, 2011 14:12


there is a very small second airport in Thalang to for small planes, why not use that one too.

Posted by June on October 10, 2011 14:18

Editor Comment:

If you mean the airfield at Phuket Airpark, that's suitable only for small recreational aircraft.


160 flights that is bringing in less turnover then 70 did five years ago !
Hotels had never been so cheap as now !
These tourists from Russia, China etc do not buy anything, all is prepaid, and their pocket money is very small !
So now you had scared the Scandinavian away who spend 4000 Baht + per day !
Good luck !

Posted by karsten on October 10, 2011 18:55

Editor Comment:

karsten, five years ago was 2006 - 13 months after the tsunami. Your arithmetic is not good.


. I find it hard to spend more than 1,000 baht a day in Phuket, because except for a bedroom and 2 meals a day, there's almost nothing I want to buy here. And I like it like that. Fools throwing around 4000+ baht a day are the ones forcing prices up in Phuket. If you're going to spend that every day, you may as well be in a high-class destination like St Tropez.

Posted by Greg on October 10, 2011 20:08

Editor Comment:

Spending money doesn't put up prices, Greg. It's usually down to greed.


"The owners of private jets seeking space on Phuket are being told to try airports at Krabi or Trang if they wish to park overnight. Major airlines are now being told the same thing, according to Phuket airport's Deputy Director, Thanee Choochoing."

Perhaps one of the pilots parked his jet in a space "reserved" for tuk tuks/taxis.

Posted by ScubaNinja on October 11, 2011 15:04

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