Plans have been announced for the construction of a temporary passenger terminal at Phuket International Airport by the end of 2013, designed to relieve overcrowding caused by the island's continued popularity as a holiday destination.
The extension is an addition to the Airport of Thailand’s (AoT) approval of a THB145 million (USD4.6 million) budget for the construction of a new terminal, scheduled for completion in 2015.
The new terminal will comprise a single-storey building of 1,400 sqm, according to a preliminary mandate issued by the board and will take around 120 days to build. Constructed from glass and steel structure, it will also fit with the rest of the airport’s main expansion and will create a capacity to manage three million passengers by the time it is completed in December. Once the overall airport expansion is completed, the current terminal will be used solely for domestic passengers.
Phuket’s annual airport traffic volume is predicted to reach 10.5 million by the end of 2013, a figure much greater than the 6.5 million the airport is currently able to handle. Ongoing expansion plans will increase capacity to 12.5 million visitors per year. However, there is already speculation as to whether this expansion will be enough. According to AoT executives, the number of passengers coming through the airport is expected to exceed 12 million by 2015.
A growing number of airlines now operate direct flights to Phuket airport, making a stopover in Bangkok unnecessary for international visitors. In fact, TigerAir Philippines is set to launch a direct flight from Manila early next month.
"We are happy to announce that effective September, we are flying to Phuket, Thailand twice a week every Tuesday and Saturday to accommodate as many passengers who wish to visit," said Olive Ramos, CEO of TigerAir.
Cebu Pacific also revealed earlier this year that they would be launching their own flight direct to Phuket, which is set to commence on August 16. Meanwhile, Thai Smile, the low cost airline owned by Thai Airways International, launched direct flights to Phuket from Mumbai, Delhi and Kuala Lumpur in spring 2013.