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Thai PM proposes new airports for Phuket & Chiang Mai

Flickr/Ferry Octavian

UPDATE: Rumour has it that Thailand’s new PM, Srettha Thavisin, will be visiting Phang Nga on Saturday to visit tourism leaders and hotel representatives, as well as make an announcement related to the construction of a new airport in the province directly to the north of Phuket.

The new PM is spending today and tomorrow in Phuket and neighbouring Phang-nga, to meet with tourism operators at the Ramada Plaza Chao Fah Hotel, for discussion of the new government’s tourism strategy and development plans for Phuket. Tonight the new PM will visit Old Phuket Town and Bangla Road in Patong Beach to meet with business operators and tourists (wonder if they shuffle some of the touts out of the way before the PM gets to read some of the local offers?).

On Saturday, he will visit Phang Nga province to meet tourism operators at the Moracea Khao Lak Resort, to discuss wellness tourism, before heading back to Bangkok.

STORY: Srettha Thavisin says his party plans to refurbish Thailand’s airports and to build two new ones in Phuket and Chiang Mai. According to the Bangkok Post, the new PM says the Pheu Thai party has plans to boost tourism in the kingdom.

Srettha goes on to say his administration will go on the offensive with plans to reinvigorate tourism, a sector that accounts directly and indirectly for a fifth of Thailand’s economy. The new government plans to kick things off by refurbishing every airport in the country and building new airports in Phuket and Chiang Mai.

According to Srettha, Phuket’s new airport should be reserved exclusively for international flights. The current facility handles both domestic and international, and the PM says it’s now at full capacity, handling 14 million passengers a year.

The airport only has one runway, says Srettha, and the surrounding area can’t accommodate a second. Earlier this year, Airports of Thailand had proposed building a second Phuket airport in the neighbouring province of Phang Nga, but the idea has been shelved recently.

Otherwise, in Phuket, it’s hard to imagine where a new airport could be constructed where there is a clear approach and take off from a 3 kilometre stretch of runway.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai, Srettha says a new airport would better facilitate late-night arrivals and departures, adding that the existing facility has some limitations. Chiang Mai’s airport is currently in phase one of an expansion project which will increase its capacity from 11 million passengers a year to 16.5 million. It’s expected to be completed in 2029.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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