Study looking to expand Samui airport under way
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Study looking to expand Samui airport under way

Move aims to handle bigger aircraft

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin visits Koh Samui on Sunday. (Photo: Government House)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin visits Koh Samui on Sunday. (Photo: Government House)

SURAT THANI: A feasibility study for the expansion of Samui airport to welcome larger aircraft and more visitors is now underway, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Monday.

Mr Srettha, along with Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol and Deputy Agriculture Minister Chaiya Promma, visited the airport on Monday to discuss the project.

The visit was part of an official government trip to Koh Samui in Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, which started on Saturday and ended on Monday.

At present, the airport has one runway that is 2.1 kilometres long and 45 metres wide that can support small aircraft such as the Airbus A319 which carries about 120 passengers.

The airport can handle 6 million passengers annually.

The expansion plan is looking to support an increasing number of passengers.

The feasibility study will be completed around the beginning of next year, said Mr Srettha.

The prime minister added that the airport owner, Bangkok Airways, is in the process of acquiring more land for the expansion so that the airport can accommodate larger aircraft, such as the Airbus 320 and be ready to handle more tourists coming to the island in the future.

Mr Srettha also took to his X account later, saying that he had instructed local authorities to come up with public utility plans to support the increasing number of visitors after the expansion.

"This is good news for the locals," Mr Srettha's post said.

Meanwhile, Ms Sudawan held talks with the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association and business operators on the island to promote tourism further.

She said the government aims to push the island as one of the country's top destinations for foreign visitors to increase income for locals.

Ms Sudawan said that the ministry is working with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote the southern island using a different approach, including through gastronomy and the local way of living.

In the discussion, the association proposed that the ministry work with the Labour Ministry on job training to enhance the skills of locals in the hospitality industry.

Regarding the cruise terminal project, Ms Sudawan said that if it succeeds, the number of cruise ships stopping in Thailand will increase, especially those departing from Singapore to Hong Kong, and a rise in high-end visitors is expected to be seen.

From the beginning of January to April 7, about 100 cruise ships made stops in Thailand, carrying 214,097 passengers and 92,745 crew.

The top five nationalities visiting were from the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia, Germany and Singapore, said Ms Sudawan.

The cruise terminal proposal will soon be completed and presented at a cabinet meeting for approval by the end of this year, said Ms Sudawan.

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