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Phuket seaplane project gets a step closer

Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Manaporn Charoensri was in Phuket launching the country’s first ‘seaplane tourism’ business.

In January this year, Airports of Thailand announced a new sea-plane terminal at the Phuket International Terminal that would “meet the rising demand for coastal tourism”.

A study was conducted for the project which would boost tourism from Phuket to local Andaman islands and beaches. The island’s myriad of boat tour operators have provided these services for decades.

The Deputy Minister attended the workshop, titled ‘First Seaplane Operations Toward Thailand’s Aviation Hub’.

Ms. Manaporn spoke about the importance of the planned seaplane operations not only for tourism but also to provide medical support at a time when land transport around the island was getting increasingly clogged with traffic congestion and longer driving times.

Quoted in The Phuket News

“Transport opens the door for trade and tourism: Creating a hub for connecting all dimensions of travel.”

Nopasit Chakpitak, the President and CEO of the company that would launch the first sea-dance services, Aerothai (Aeronautical Radio of Thailand), discussed the company’s exploration of providing maritime aircraft control services as a new form of air transport.

The AoT Chairman, Pol General Visanu Prasattongosoth, earlier stated… “Phang Nga province and the Gulf of Thailand’s Koh Samui are also suitable spots for seaplane terminals due to their popularity with tourists.”

“The new seaplane services could see more tourists making the trip between Phuket and Gulf resorts like Samui, Pattaya and Hua Hin.”

Meanwhile, the AoT president Kerati Kijmanawat has previously announced that the seaplane base would be part of Phuket airport’s expansion. Estimates to build the sea-pane terminal are “about 8 billion baht”.

The seaplane terminal, and the start of Aerothai services for Phuket, have been a long time coming with the project meant to be flying, originally, by 2021.

Aeothai haven’t been the only company to test the waters of a seaplane service in Phuket. Thai Seaplane had earlier announced its plans to start similar services “later in the 4th quarter of 2024”.

“In the buzz of Phuket’s travel scene, get ready for Thai Seaplane to make a splash later in the 4th quarter of 2024. They’ll merge the fast track to your destinations with the thrill of flight, offering a brand new way to explore from Phuket to surrounding islands.”

“Starting with a reliable Cessna 208 Caravan Amphibian, Thai Seaplane plans to expand its fleet by the end of 2025. This addition of two more aircraft means more flights, more destinations, and yes, more amazing selfies for you.”

Nothing appears to have been heard of this company since.

Another player, Siam Seaplane, was looking to “add amphibian planes of the Cessna Caravan 208 model to its fleet to serve high-end customers visiting seaside resorts and ports in Thailand.”

They announced earlier this year that their first route would be from Phuket to Ko Lipe in Satun province, “where amphibian planes can shorten the commute time to the island to just 30 to 45 minutes”.

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