Temporary terminal to provide quick relief for Phuket Airport
The board of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) last week endorsed a B145-million maximum budget for building the facility, designed to provide much-needed capacity before the airport’s main expansion, costing B5.8 billion, is completed in mid-2015.
The approval came as the AoT board also asked management to conduct a feasibility study for a second runway at Phuket to meet future demand growth once the current expansion is finished, AoT executives said.
Unique Engineering and Construction Plc was given a preliminary mandate from the board to build the temporary terminal, a single-storey building with usable floor space of 1,400 square metres, subject to price negotiations.
When completed in December the temporary terminal, to be built in 120 days on four rai currently used as a football pitch, will have the capacity to handle 3 million passengers a year.
It will be a glass-and-steel structure designed in harmony with the terminal featured in the main expansion.
Because it will be located away from the existing terminal, the temporary facility, equipped with 10 check-in counters, will be used for passengers on international charter flights, who will then be transferred by bus to the main terminal for security and immigration processing.
The temporary terminal will provide much-needed capacity at Phuket airport, whose traffic volume is expected to reach 10.5 million passenger movements this year, well beyond the 6.5 million official capacity of the existing terminal.
The ongoing permanent expansion will increase Phuket’s annual passenger handling to 12.5 million movements.
The new multi-storey permanent terminal, capable of handling 5 million passengers a year, will be for international travellers.
The present terminal will be used solely for domestic passengers once its upgrade is done in mid-2015, giving it a yearly capacity of 7.5 million passengers – for a total airport capacity of 12.5 million.
All the construction will only allow the airport to catch up with traffic; if numbers continue to grow at the current rate, Phuket is projected to see 12 million movements or more by 2015, when the new international terminal opens.
Meanwhile, AoT management has orders to assess the possibility of building a second runway at Phuket by acquiring adjoining land now occupied by state bodies such as the Royal Thai Navy.
The board is to consider an initial plan for the second runway at its next meeting on Aug 28.
Pratuang Sonkham, general manager of Phuket airport, earlier said a second runway would be needed in 10-15 years, as well as capacity to handle an additional 10 million passengers a year.
It was not clear how long the new runway would be. Phuket’s existing runway is not long enough for fully laden Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s to take off (with a good safety margin for an aborted take-off).
This means the island’s airport can take only smaller aircraft, resulting in a higher number of aircraft movements.