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Flying into paradise

June 14, 2010

For over 20 years Phuket International Airport has welcomed several million tourists from around the world. In response to growing numbers of visitors, public and private agencies involved with the gateway to the Andaman are planning to upgrade the airport and improve its facilities for passenger comfort.

Phuket International Airport is Thailand’s second largest airport after Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi, both in handling cargo and by welcoming some 6.5 million tourists yearly.

Due to the increasing number of tourists, Phuket’s airport development project is now underway. “Many more airlines have requested landing rights at Phuket International Airport by the end of 2009. We also expect that the number of tourists will double by 2013,” said Prathuang Sornkhom, general manager of Phuket International Airport.

According to AoT, the airport development project is expected to be complete in 2013 and will include building an international passenger terminal for 12.5 million passengers, additional 21 bays, a cargo terminal, a new car park and walkways and right-of-ways for motorized baggage carts inside the airport, while renovation of the current passenger terminal, particularly the wash room areas, will take place at the initial phase.

Air Asia

AIRASIA is ready to offer promotions and special packages to Thailand and even flights between destination rivals Phuket and Bali . . . just as soon as Thailand lifts its state of emergency declaration for Bangkok and 23 provinces.

AirAsia already has big plans to open up India-Phuket routes from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and New Delhi (formerly New Delhi) as soon as August.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin Plc plans to add flights from Berlin to  Phuket,  with the start of its winter schedule, which begins Nov. 1, the airline said in a statement distributed to reporters last week.Germany’s second-biggest carrier will serve Phuket up to six times, according to the statement.


Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are close to Phuket and now Firefly, the local community airline with an updated turbo-prop fleet, already plans to increase its four-times weekly service to Penang to daily from December 1.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways International (THAI) president Piyasavasti Amranand on Monday said the airline’s cabin factor, or ratio of seats filled, increased in June by almost 70 per cent after tourists began returning to Thailand following the reduced political tension.

Mr Piyasavasti said he is therefore confident that travellers will come back at the previous rate in the third and fourth quarters, which is Thailand’s high season.

Mr Piyasavasti welcomed the government’s decision for tax measures to promote tourism by allowing Thai travellers to use their travel receipts for income tax deductions, and said the public sector needs to speed up restoring confidence among foreign travellers in order that they are aware that Thailand is safe and peaceful.

Meanwhile, THAI’s executive vice president for Commercial Department, Pruet Boobphakam, said the national carrier has recently cooperated with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with five-star hotels and entrepreneurs in the Ratchaprasong area to hold a 3-day tour in July bringing around 700-800 foreign correspondents and representatives of international travel agents to Thailand.

The trip would be at no cost to the foreign correspondents and travel agents, who will spend one night at a hotel in Ratchaprasong. In order to show them that Thailand’s situation has returned to normal, all guests will later be accompanied to experience different other Thai regions such as in the northern province of Chiang Mai, the southern resort island of Phuket and the northeastern province of Khon Kaen.

Moreover, THAI has increased the number of flights on its newly-acquired Boeing 777 to offer passengers on the Bangkok-Paris and Bangkok-Tokyo routes and vice versa to attract potential travellers from both destinations. (TNA)

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