Koh Phangan airport project hits snag

Koh Phangan airport project hits snag

Forestry officials inspect part of a forest reserve allegedly cleared by Kannithi Aviation, the operator of Kan Air, to build a commercial airport on Koh Phangan. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
Forestry officials inspect part of a forest reserve allegedly cleared by Kannithi Aviation, the operator of Kan Air, to build a commercial airport on Koh Phangan. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI - Forestry authorities have lodged a complaint against the operator of Kan Air which allegedly cleared 42 rai of forest reserve on a mountain on Koh Phangan to build the Koh Phangan airport, causing almost 3 million baht in damage.

Somkid Jiewkok, head of the Surat Thani Forest Protection Unit 6 in charge of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, on Thursday led authorities to file the complaint with Phangan police against Kannithi Aviation Co Ltd for alleged forest reserve encroachment in tambon Ban Tai on the resort island.

Mr Somkid said the Chiang Mai-based company cut down trees on 42 rai of forest reserve for the construction of its commercial airport, causing about 2.9 million baht in damage to the state. 

The firm is accused of exploiting forest land for its own benefit and causing damage in violation of Section 54 of the Forest Act, the National Reserved Forest Act and Section 9(1) of the Land Code.

The total area prepared for the new airport is reportedly 143 rai, to which the company allegedly has title deeds to only 101 rai.

“Land title deeds for some land could be unlawfully issued to the company operator. Those documents will be thoroughly examined by the Lands Department,” Mr Somkid said. Land documents unlawfully acquired would be revoked.

The project was originally scheduled for completion in 2016.


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