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Calls to reboot the Phang Nga Airport proposal

Thai Smile Airbus A320 tail strike Phuket Airport
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There are calls for a deferred feasibility study into building an airport in Phang Nga to be resumed. The Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee in the Andaman provinces is urging Airports of Thailand to continue the deferred study after it was shelved by the Cabinet back in 2022.

The JPPSCC, in the provinces of Krabi, Trang, Phang Nga, Phuket, Ranong and Satun, recently held talks with Phuket Airport after Airports of Thailand decided to defer its feasibility study. Phuket’s capacity to carry most of the load for the region’s tourism was up for discussion.

The proposed airport was going to located inland from the Thai Muang area, about halfway between Phuket and Khao Lak.

The Bangkok Post reports that in November 2020, AoT was allocated a budget of 11 million baht to launch a preliminary feasibility study into building an airport in Phang Nga. The project would require an investment of around 100 billion baht, with the completion of the airport expected by 2027.

However, Jaran Pandang, Phuket Airport Deputy Director, says the AoT decided to suspend its study last year, following a cabinet resolution. In August 2022, the Cabinet ordered the AoT to oversee management of Udon Thani, Buriram, and Krabi international airports, and suspend plans for an airport in Phang Nga.

A disappointed president of the Phang Nga Tourism Association has called for the project to be resumed. Lertsak Ponklin points out that were it to go ahead, it could take up to 10 years to build an airport.

Meanwhile, Mr Jaran adds that Phuket Airport is already at capacity, handling 14 million passengers a year. If the facility were to be expanded, that could increase to 17 million, not yet reaching the 18 million seen pre-pandemic.

“I cannot imagine when the economy picks up and when it is high season, how crowded Phuket Airport will be. So, we need to prepare.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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