Phuket Airport eyes new terminal
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Phuket Airport eyes new terminal

'18 million' passengers to visit this year

Indian tourists are warmly received at Phuket airport in December last year. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Indian tourists are warmly received at Phuket airport in December last year. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

Phuket Airport is planning to invest 6 billion baht to build a new terminal for international flights to expand its passenger handling capacity from 12.5 million a year to 18 million.

Airport director Monchai Tanod said the airport is in need of expansion.

It welcomed about 16,000 domestic passengers per day last month, or 90% of pre-Covid-19 traffic.

Daily international arrivals and departures were recorded at 22,000 on average, which already outstrips the pre-pandemic traffic in 2019 by 7%, according to Mr Monchai.

Overall, he estimated the number of passengers passing through the airport this year will be no less than 2019's figure of 18 million.

He said the airport is currently working on the design of the new terminal.

"If the design is completed this year, the project will be submitted to the National Environment Board for approval.

"The airport could use an additional international terminal equipped to handle up to 18 million [passengers].

"It will provide passengers with greater convenience," he said, adding that construction is expected to begin in 2026 and the terminal will take up to three years to be completed.

The Airports of Thailand has earmarked a 6-billion baht budget for the project.

Mr Monchai also said the airport has drawn up a long-term plan to build a dedicated terminal for seaplanes.

Meanwhile, Nutthajit Oonsiem, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Asean, South Asia and South Pacific marketing team, said his team joined the TAT offices in New Delhi and Phuket to hold a welcome ceremony on Friday for an inaugural SG89 flight, operated by Spice Jet.

It is the airline's first direct flight from New Delhi to Phuket.

Spice Jet operates a daily direct flight from the Indian capital to Phuket using a single-aisle Airbus A320 Neo aircraft capable of carrying up to 180 passengers.

According to the TAT, Thailand will welcome approximately 2 million Indian visitors this year, bringing in at least 79 billion baht in tourism revenue.

Mr Monchai said Indians currently are the third biggest arrivals at Phuket Airport.

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