The new terminal at Phuket International Airport will open this week, providing a much-needed capacity boost for the island.
The Bangkok Post reports that all international flights will be shifted to the new terminal from Friday. And with months of trials already having been conducted, the airport will be hoping for a seamless launch. In total, 35 airlines will operate international flights to and from the new terminal, including multiple Chinese charter carriers.
“Transit through Phuket airport by international passengers will be absolutely more convenient, smoother and a nice experience,” Monrudee Gettuphan, Phuket Airport’s general manager, told the Bangkok Post.
Phuket Airport handled 12.86 million passengers and 84,758 take-offs and landings in 2015, making it Thailand’s third busiest airport after Bangkok’s two hubs – Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang.
But the airport is already over-capacity and continued double-digit growth, driven mainly by surging inbound tourist traffic from China, has put severe pressure on the airport’s infrastructure.
The new four-storey terminal, which was developed at a cost of THB5.14 billion (US$147 million), will be able to accommodate five million passengers per year. Space constraints at the seaside airport however, mean that Phuket will continue to operate a single runway.
An officially opening ceremony will be held on Friday morning, attended by Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.