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New transport minister backs Phang Nga Airport project

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Thailand’s new transport minister has given his backing to a proposal to build a new international airport in Phang Nga. Following PM Srettha Thavisin’s visit to Phuket and Phang Nga two weeks ago, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit has revived the long-discussed Phang Nga Airport project.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the Airlines Association of Thailand is also in favour. AAT president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth says he plans to discuss the Phang Nga Airport proposal with the new transport minister.

The AAT represents Thai airlines, including Thai VietJet Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion Air, and Nok Air. Puttipong also serves as president of Bangkok Airways and said that his airline would be “keen on investing in the airport project”. Bangkok Airways already owns and operates airports in Koh Samui, Trat and Sukhothai.

According to Puttipong, the Kok Kloi sub-district, in the district of Takua Thung, could be a good location for the airport. He adds that Airports of Thailand and the Department of Airports have also expressed interest in investing in the Phang Nga airport project.

Earlier this year, the Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee in the Andaman provinces called on AoT to revive a shelved feasibility study into the project. AoT had deferred the project after Cabinet ordered it to be suspended in favour of overseeing the management of Buriram, Surat Thani, and Krabi international airports.

In November 2020, AoT was allocated a budget of 11 million baht to conduct a feasibility study into the Phang Nga airport project. It’s estimated that the project would require a budget of 100 billion baht.

Phuket International Airport has now reportedly reached its full capacity of 14 million passengers a year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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