Phuket terminal ready to roll
The long-awaited new passenger terminal at Phuket airport is set to start full-scale commercial operations tomorrow. The launch is scheduled for a minute after midnight tonight, with all international
flights operated by 35 airlines shifting from the old terminal to the new facility, which promises to relieve congestion at Thailand’s third-busiest airport. Monrudee Gettuphan, Phuket airport’s general confirmed yesterday that all systems were ready for the opening, which will be presided over by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday morning.
A series of trial runs and simulations that began on Feb 14 this year have been successful, assuring no hiccups when the terminal comes on stream commercially, Ms Monrudee told the Bangkok Post.
In the week leading up to the launch, the new terminal, which cost 2.45 billion baht to build, is handling 800-900 passengers a day on charter flights run by five Chinese carriers. These flights were moved from the airport’s ancillary “X” terminal to the new terminal. The opening of the new terminal, a key aspect of the airport’s 5.14-billion-baht expansion, is about three months behind the latest schedule after extended delays. The structure should relieve overcrowding at the airport, which has handled twice as many passengers as the 6.5 million a year for which it was designed. The four-storey terminal, distinguished by its blue roof, has floor space of 72,338 square metres and can process 5 million passengers a year.
“Transit through Phuket airport by international passengers will be absolutely more convenient, smoother and a nice experience,” Ms Monrudee said. Total passenger traffic at Phuket airport soared by 19.7% in the first seven months of the year to 8.94 million, according to data compiled by Airports of Thailand Plc.
Current passenger volumes will consume the incremental capacity that the airport expansion will provide, an aviation analyst said.