Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) is speeding up construction of the new Andaman International Airport, which is set to become a direct long-haul flight hub in the South.
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit recently visited Phuket and Phangnga to observe progress on Phuket's second airport -- Andaman International Airport in Phangnga province -- and initiate improvements to transport infrastructure in the area.
The new airport, which is in its second stage of development, will serve as an extension of Phuket Airport, according to Mr Suriya.
The two airports are expected to handle as many as 18 million passengers per year, compared to the annual average of 12.5 million currently handled by Phuket Airport, he said.
Once the Andaman International Airport opens, it will be a hub for direct long-distance international flights while the original airport in Phuket will accommodate only domestic and short-haul international flights.
Mr Suriya also ordered the development of land transport infrastructure to connect the two airports for maximised convenience for passengers.
Deputy AOT director Kirati Kitmanawat said the company will follow up on the transport minister’s order.
According to the AOT executive, the two airports are 23.4 kilometres apart, and it takes less than 20 minutes to travel between them using Sarasin Bridge, which connects Phuket and Phangnga.
Currently, Phuket Airport has only one runway and 25 aprons and can handle up to 20 flights per hour.
The AOT had originally planned to expand this capacity to 25 flights per hour but found this would be impossible due to limited space, which prevented it from adding a second runway.
As a result, it was decided that a second airport was needed.
According to CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Andaman International Airport is expected to open in 2031.