At Phuket airport, passengers losing their cool

At Phuket airport, passengers losing their cool

Authorities at Phuket airport have put fans in the departure lounge of the domestic airport but passengers say they do little to cool things down. (FB/tou.phuket)
Authorities at Phuket airport have put fans in the departure lounge of the domestic airport but passengers say they do little to cool things down. (FB/tou.phuket)

Phuket International Airport's faulty air-conditioning units will be fixed within three months, airport officials have said, following complaints from passengers saying its domestic terminal often gets too hot.

Airport director, Petch Chancharoen, admitted there were problems and that complaints about temperatures inside the domestic terminal were received on a regular basis.

According to him, this is a result of faulty air-conditioning units inside the terminal, many of which are in urgent need of maintenance. He said most passenger complaints are about the domestic terminal's departure area.

"Some of the air conditioners are 20 to 30 years old. Many must be replaced, while some will only need maintenance," Mr Petch said. "We have already asked for funds [from the government] to rectify the situation. New air-conditioning units should arrive within two to three months' time."

As a temporary solution, he said Phuket airport staff have brought in portable air conditioners and fans to cool passengers, adding temperatures often soar around midday.

Mr Petch added new lighting will also be installed around the same time.

Phuket airport is one of the six international airports operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), a state enterprise under the Transport Ministry. It is also one of the busiest airports in the country, with over 16.2 million passengers using it last year, according to the AoT.

However, its two current terminals can officially only accommodate 12.5 million passengers per year, double the number it previously handled before the airport officially opened its first international terminal in September 2016.

According to Mr Petch, Phuket is currently undergoing a two-phase renovation plan in its domestic passenger terminal. The first phase in the terminal's south zone is now complete, with the zone being opened for passenger use last November.

Its the north zone, where the hot temperatures were most commonly reported, he said. This will be fully operational again by next month. Work on the air-conditioning units will follow "as soon as possible", he said.

A meeting to address longstanding complaints about the airport took place last month, chaired by Phuket governor Norraphat Plodthong. According to him, the most frequent complaints at the airport included its lack of air conditioning, public toilets and seating for passengers.

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