The AOT (Owners of the Airport) finally approved a budget of almost $200 Million to expand the airport, increase capacity and hopefully hire another Immigration officer or two (or 50). The airport capacity is expected to reach 12 million passengers by 2012. It currently handles about 6 million passengers per year.
The expansion in Phuket will address crowding at Thailand’s second busiest airport and meet the expected rise in air traffic demand over the next decade.
AoT now expects the expansion, including constructing a new terminal for international passengers, improving the existing terminal, upgrading the jet fuelling system and building new taxiways, to commence by the end of next year.
Meanwhile, AoT has embarked on an in-house study on building a terminal dedicated to private jets at the Phuket airport, part of a bid to further enhance the southern resort island’s growing reputation as a destination for the internationally rich and famous and for jet-setting businesspeople.
Conceptually, the terminal, the first of its kind in Thailand, would be built separately from the expanding main terminal under a build-transfer-operate contract. That means private companies would invest in and run the facility but AoT would own it.
However, hidden in this news is that the construction is expected to begin by the end of this year. We fear this may lead to major delays and confusion as “the end of this year” is in fact peak season. However it means that development in this area will continue and that capacity will grow.
It also bodes well for Khao Lak and the area. As Phuket Island has already reached capacity and suffers from horrible decay in both infrastructure and culture – Khao Lak is the natural choice. In additionto the long beaches and lack of sex tourism – the great diving is so close at hand!
More details can be found here…. http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/aviation/19230/aot-okays-b5-8bn-for-phuket
-Khao Lak Diving